VISTA Members and Sites Support Derecho Recovery

November 5, 2020

Since the August Derecho storms, organizations like the Catherine McAuley Center (CMC) in Cedar Rapids have been responding to the immediate needs of the people and communities they serve. For CMC, this includes repurposing their old building to serve as a shelter that continues to house refugees who lost their homes and serving as a hub for collecting and delivering donations. The center itself experienced significant damage to the building they moved into just weeks before the storm. CMC is one of our AmeriCorps VISTA Community Corps partner sites and full-time member Garrett Frambach has been central to the recovery effort.

AmeriCorps VISTA member Garrett Frambach

“It’s an all hands on deck situation,” said Frambach. “Everyone on the team showed up ready for whatever kind of work needed to be done.”

For Frambach, that meant working on communications with the administrative team in the weeks after the Derecho to ensure that social media accounts stayed active and up to date. Volunteers, clients, and community members relied on the information to know how to help and find various resources around Cedar Rapids. He also stepped in to document and take pictures of damage, talk with residents and volunteers, and deliver boxes of donated goods.

Recovery from these devastating storms will be ongoing. A recent analysis describes the event as the costliest U.S. thunderstorm disaster in history. Organizations like the Catherine McAuley Center and VISTA members like Frambach will continue to adapt their services and rise to the challenges presented this year so they can support the people most impacted.

The Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact VISTA Community Corps strives to eliminate poverty through campus-community partnerships by placing full-time capacity building support in nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions. The Catherine McAuley Center offers hope and opportunity through educational and supportive services that promote stability, skill-building, and connection. The center’s programs serve distinct populations – immigrants, refugees, and women experiencing crisis – but they are united by a common purpose of promoting the well-being and dignity of individuals in need.

Want to get involved? Here’s a wish list of items still needed.