Iowa, Nebraska Kiwanis clubs ready to help neighbors with disaster relief

Vicki Hermansen | Mar 22, 2019

Five Kiwanis clubs in the Kiwanis Nebraska-Iowa District have received a total of US$25,000 in disaster relief grants from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund

Emergency supplies are coming to Nebraska and Iowa to help children recover from the recent devastating flooding. The Kiwanis Children’s Fund just approved $25,000 for bottled water, cleaning supplies and toiletries.

Kiwanis clubs in Glenwood and Atlantic, Iowa, and Bellevue, Fremont and Columbus, Nebraska, each received $5,000 disaster relief grants to purchase emergency supplies for distribution in those and surrounding communities where residents have been forced from their homes due to flooding. 

“We are currently reeling from the impact of the catastrophic flooding at what our (Nebraska) governor called the most extensive damage our state has ever experienced,” said 2018-19 Kiwanis Nebraska-Iowa District Governor Sue Waldren. “Two-thirds of our counties are in a state of emergency.”

The Kiwanis Children’s Fund, which supports club disaster relief efforts, awarded the grants this week to help with relief efforts in the Nebraska-Iowa District of Kiwanis.

Kiwanis members aid after disasterIn Nebraska, the Kiwanis Club of Bellevue will work with disaster relief responders to distribute laundry and food vouchers, sleeping bags, cleaning supplies and toiletries. Club Secretary-Treasurer Karen Mier said more than 3,000 residents were affected by the flooding, and more than 700 residents had to leave their homes quickly, taking only a few days’ worth of clothing and supplies with them.  

Mier said the club will work with the city, law enforcement, churches, schools, the American Red Cross, and the Salvation Army to provide services to those in need.

The Fremont and Columbus Kiwanis clubs asked for funding to purchase emergency supplies such as toiletries, cleaning supplies, bottled water, clothing, bedding and food. In Fremont, more than 600 residents have been evacuated from their homes, forced into emergency shelters, hotels or the homes of friends and family. Members of the Kiwanis Club of Fremont will distribute the relief items at emergency shelters, according to club member Joy McKay.

Emergency supplies are coming to help childrenThe Kiwanis Club of Columbus also will help residents in Schuyler, Duncan, Platte Center and nearby rural areas. In seeking the grant, club President Hollie Olk said her club would work with area chambers of commerce and churches to identify people who need help.  

“This is how we say Kiwanis helps kids. Kids need Kiwanis and the Kiwanis Children’s Fund is here to help us help our kiddos,” said Jane Erickson, Bellevue, Nebraska, a past president of Kiwanis International and the Kiwanis Children’s Fund.

In Iowa, the Kiwanis Club of Atlantic will hold a relief effort Saturday, March 30. The club will prepare 1,000 sack lunches and deliver them to residents of nearby Hamburg, where 1,086 residents are without power and water and 80 percent of the area is under water.  

Janice Brown, secretary of the Kiwanis Club of Atlantic, Iowa, said her club will purchase food at a discount from a local store whose manager is a club member. The lunches will be assembled and taken to Hamburg with help from the Kiwanis Club of Clarinda. Once in Hamburg, members will fan out across the community to provide a meal to residents who are cleaning their homes and properties. If flooding has not receded by then, the club will provide the lunches on Saturday, April 6.  

In Glenwood, Iowa, the Kiwanis club will coordinate the distribution of food, bottled water, first aid supplies, cleaning supplies and toiletries with Mills County Department of Public Health, according to Denise S. Crawford, club secretary.

“Thanks to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund, children and their families currently living in shelters are receiving their basic needs of water, food, clothing and toiletries. Kiwanians are helping at the shelters and will be there to help with the hard days ahead as the cleanup begins,” said Waldren.

Kiwanis clubs often work with emergency responders, churches, nonprofits and public health agencies to gather and distribute essential items after disasters such as flooding, hurricanes or tornadoes. Some clubs use their grants to collaborate with restaurants and laundromats to provide food and laundry services to flooding victims.

The Kiwanis Children’s Fund administers grants for disaster relief to provide almost immediate cash to help clubs get supplies to people who are most in need. Each $5,000 grant supports Kiwanis-led disaster relief efforts that address crucial, immediate needs of the affected community. More information about this program and how you can help at


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