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Grateful members of Cedar Rapids church begin flood cleanup

Forgive Kim Abrams for getting a little emotional.
The longtime secretary at the Central church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, can’t help but choke up when she thinks of those who have lost homes and businesses since early June rains turned to flooding that all but consumed the city.
“You feel deeply for all these people,” said Abrams, whose home escaped the worst of the flooding. “People at our church, people in our community … everyone has been touched on some level. At the same time, we have a lot to be grateful for here.”
As Central begins today to reach out with the assistance of church-based disaster relief agencies, its members are thankful for the fact that their building — 15 blocks from the Cedar River — was spared. That enables the congregation of 225 or so, likely the largest in Iowa, to serve as a hub for distributing cleanup supplies, food and other essentials, said member David Hardy.
“This isn’t just water that we’re talking about,” Hardy said. “It’s sewer water. It’s smelly, yucky muck. Furniture, carpet, everything it touched is just a complete mess.”
Local officials say that mess will add up to more garbage than Cedar Rapids produces in a year – and it must be disposed of quickly to prevent health concerns.
To make matters worse, many Cedar Rapids residents don’t have flood insurance, Hardy said, because their homes sit outside the 500-year-flood plain. Banks only require insurance for structures inside the 100-year flood plain.
Three families at the Central church lost their homes, while several others reported significant damage. At least one family lost a business — an auto repair shop that opened 50 years ago. Still more lost their jobs in the destruction.
“It’s pretty overwhelming for us,” Abrams said. “One day alone we had 4-and-a-half inches of rain. That was such a scary time, for sure.”
Hardy encourages those wishing to help to help provide food, water, cleaning supplies, hygiene products and baby-care essentials. Volunteers also are needed to help with cleaning, restoration and building projects, he said.
In addition, Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort and Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team are partnering with the congregation to help the community, Hardy said.
Laura Cremeans with Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team said the Central church is just one of many in the Midwest receiving help from that organization.
“As you know, thousands have been affected,” she said, adding that many didn’t qualify for flood insurance because of their location.
Though Sunday worship was sad at times, the congregation couldn’t help but be grateful for the latest installment of minister Terry Seufferlein’s summer sermon series, Abrams said.
“Without knowing, of course, that all this was going to happen, Terry began a series several weeks ago on ‘Firm Foundations in the Storms of Life,’” Abrams said.
Yesterday’s message: The sovereignty of God.

  • Feedback
    Bless their hearts. The saints at the Central Church of Christ in Haines City, Florida are remembering our brothers and sisters in Iowa. May God grant them the relief they need in this hour of trial.
    June, 23 2008

Filed under: Staff Reports Top Stories

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