Important Disaster Ministries Update - Crews and Donations Needed

Important Disaster Ministries Update - Crews and Donations Needed

August 20, 2020

The August 10 Derecho Storm has devastated more than 150 communities and over 8,000 homes in Iowa. 
Many church buildings and parsonages were damaged, some severely. Please consider reaching out to those brothers and sisters with notes, texts, calls, and prayers. If your buildings were damaged and you have not spoken with your District Superintendent or with Pastor Catie Newman, the Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, please do so. They can help. 

Churches (please, only churches at this time) who need help from one of our Chainsaw Teams with cutting trees and hauling branches, please contact our Chainsaw Team Coordinator Pastor Andrew Happ at 319-241-0223 (call, text, or leave a message) or email him at [email protected]. Individuals who need chainsaw help, please call your church or pastor. (Pastor’s please make a list and contact Pastor Happ with your needs.)
The United Methodist Chainsaw Teams have been out since day one in many communities and will continue. Also, chainsaw and Emergency Response Team crews from, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Texas are responding.

If you want to volunteer to help the Chainsaw crews in the Cedar Rapids Area with hauling brush and clean-up. Please meet at the Hiawatha City Hall Parking Lot, Monday through Saturdays at 9:00 am. Please wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, sturdy shoes, eye protection, and work gloves. Plan to bring your lunch and water. 

Governor Kim Reynolds has issued Disaster Declarations for 25 counties. This makes available Individual Assistance Grants for those impacted. You have 35 days to apply. The application can be made through your local Community Action Agency. Besides, the Governor is seeking federal assistance. 

HOW WE RESPOND: We want to “be a caring Christian Presence amid Disaster” and to not make the situation worse… a few considerations:

  • Please do not take pictures of people's items, homes, OR CHILDREN without their permission. This is a direct request from the storm survivors. This is a terrible invasion of privacy at a very difficult time. 
  • Please do not go to just driving around and look. It makes it difficult for the workers and electrical personnel to get around.
  • Please do not donate things that are not asked for, it just makes more “things” that someone has to handle and deal with. 
  • PRAY - and pray some more. This storm has devastated Iowa, communities, and crops. MANY, MANY are impacted. YOUR PRAYERS are NEEDED. It is in prayer that we unleash God’s power for one another. 
  • VOLUNTEER - Help is needed in over 150 communities. Communities looking for help have listed times and locations for volunteer check-in and contact numbers on their social media pages and city web pages. Check with the community in which you wish to volunteer for those details. The Volunteer Disaster Agencies in Iowa (including the United Methodists) are all working together with the local city government to meet as many needs in as many communities as possible. 
  • CONTACT – If you know someone who has been impacted by the storm, contact them! Call and offer words of encouragement and listen to them. Actual voice to voice contact makes a huge difference in times of loss and disaster. Ask them what they need, AND GET IT FOR THEM. If someone comes to mind, there is a reason for it. Be God’s hands and heart and reach out. 
  • DONATE - FINANCIAL Donations can be given thru the United Methodist Church Advance Special #223. ALL donations are used for supporting and helping Iowans affected by these storms.  
  • DONATE PHYSICAL ITEMS - so many have lost so much, we can help today with donations of: 
    • Battery operated fans
    • Flashlights (and extra batteries)
    • Lanterns
    • Baby Diapers and Wipes (all sizes) 
    • Personal Hygiene items (MUST be new and in original packages) 
      • Soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrushes, deodorant, hand towel 
    • Large, heavy trash bags
    • Containers – Totes with lids to pack personal items in 
    • Sturdy packing boxes and packing tape (people need to move) 
    • Charcoal grills
    • Solar-powered portable chargers for phones
    • Tarps and tie-downs
    • Gloves – heavy work gloves and rubber gloves
    • Propane
    • Wet wipes
    • Charcoal
    • Individually Wrapped Snacks
    • Bottled Water

Desperate needs (not in stock anywhere):

  • Bar and chain oil (for chainsaws)
  • Heavy extension cords (for generators)
  • Batteries, specifically “D” batteries
  • Gas cans
  • Generators

 Physical Donations can be left at: 
North Liberty, First UMC
85 North Jones Blvd
North Liberty, IA
Monday thru Friday 9 am – 4 pm 
Contact Lucy Hershberger 319-430-9488 with drop off questions
Fort Dodge, Trinity UMC
838 North 25th Street
Fort Dodge, IA
Monday thru Friday 9 am – noon 
Contact Pastor Jena Finch-Manchester 712-840-1834 
with drop off questions 

As we go forward with relief and recover, there will be many opportunities to help, we will post as many needs and connections as we are able.

Pastor Catie Newman
IAUMC Disaster Response Coordinator
[email protected]
712-899-4067 phone or text

Derecho Resources


Households who currently receive Food Assistance may request a replacement of food destroyed as a result of the recent storm damage, or spoilage as a result of a power outage. As a general rule, food will keep 4 hours if stored in a refrigerator, 24 to 48 hours if stored in a freezer. Households have until September 17, 2020, to complete the form requesting replacement of food loss.  

  • Digital submission: Download and complete the application form (Español), then submit a clear image of the form to [email protected].
  • Forms are available at local DHS offices and are also available by mail. Completed paper forms can be submitted to local offices in person, by mail or by fax. Use our DHS Office Locator to find the one nearest you. 

IIAGP offers grants to families whose household’s annual income is at 200% or less of the federal poverty level. Each qualifying household MAY receive up to $5,000.00. The IIAGP is activated when the Governor issues a disaster proclamation turning on IIAGP for the affected counties. Please note - if a presidential disaster declaration for Individual Assistance is issued for a county for the same event, the state program is automatically canceled for that county, as the federal program then goes into effect. The federal program does not have an income restriction.
The application may be downloaded by clicking on the Iowa Disaster Assistance Application (Español). Applications can be turned in to a local Community Action Agency, go to to find your local agency. For the Iowa Individual Disaster Assistance Grant program information call toll-free 1-877-347-5678. 


Governor Reynolds issued disaster proclamations for the following counties:

  • Cass and Guthrie counties in response to severe storm August 10 and continuing. The application deadline is September 28, 2020.
  • Audubon and Madison counties in response to severe storm August 10 and continuing. The application deadline is September 28, 2020.
  • Grundy, Jackson, and Jones counties in response to severe storm on August 10 and continuing. The application deadline is September 28, 2020.
  • Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Dallas, Greene, Hardin, Iowa, Jasper, Johnson, Linn, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama, and Washington counties in response to severe storm August 10 and continuing. The application deadline is September 25, 2020.

Disaster Case Management is a time-limited resource and process that involves a partnership between a disaster case manager and a household impacted by a disaster to develop and carry out a Disaster Recovery Plan. This partnership provides the client with a single point of contact to facilitate access to a broad range of resources, promoting sustainable assistance for individuals and a household’s recovery. These services are client-focused and provided in a manner consistent with standards for trauma-informed practice in human services.
Contact your local Community Action Agency at to find your local agency.


Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team
The Iowa Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team (DBHRT) is a trained team of volunteers who will respond to the mental health needs of Iowa residents following disasters and critical incidents. The team provides services for community providers based on local area needs and may be delivered at a disaster site in an affected community or statewide. Services may include:

  • Conduct behavioral health needs assessment following a disaster
  • Provide Psychological First Aid
  • Provide brief crisis counseling and intervention
  • Provide community outreach
  • Provide public information and education
  • Provide critical incident stress debriefing
  • Provide behavioral health consultation for providers, communities, and individuals
  • Provide screening and referral for those affected by a disaster or critical event

Local authorities may request DBHRT assistance to meet the behavioral health needs of communities in crisis by contacting the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Duty Officer. The duty officer is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 515-725-3231. For more information go to

Your Life Iowa
If you or a loved one are facing a problem with alcohol, drugs, gambling, mental health, or suicidal thoughts, you’re not alone. That is why the Iowa Department of Public Health has created so Iowans can chat live, text, or call and get reliable information and treatment options, and find nearby help.
Due to a storm system that swept across Iowa on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, causing significant damage and power outages, you may have trouble connecting your call with Your Life Iowa (855-581-8111) or 1-800-BETS OFF. The online chat and text options are still available and maybe more reliable until all services can be restored. (Text to 1-855-895-8398 and click here to chat).
If there is an immediate crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or click here to access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline chat. The National Lifeline will make sure you can get in contact with someone who can help.
Abbe Center Iowa Warm Line (Eastern Iowa)

The Iowa Warm Line is a peer-run, telephone-based, non-crisis, and confidential listening line for anyone struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues. The Warm Line is staffed by individuals who have been through a similar journey and are in recovery themselves.

The phone number to call is 1-844-775-9276. Calls are answered seven days a week from 5 - 10 p.m.