An eastern Iowa nonprofit is asking for the public's help after one of ten confirmed tornadoes that impacted Iowa last Friday, March 31, is likely responsible for flattening the organization's most important building.

What was in that 5,760-square-foot building in the photo above? In a word, everything. All essential items for the Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity (IVHFH). There were construction tools, materials, safety equipment, supplies, trailers, and even vehicles inside the warehouse. All things the nonprofit needs to repair homes and build new ones. IVHFH says the 7-year-old building, located in Iowa City, and all of its contents are a total loss.

Scott Hawes is the Executive Director of the Iowa Valley Habit for Humanity. He says, "It has not yet been confirmed, but it is likely a tornado hit our warehouse and our neighboring HabLab classroom during the storms on March 31.”

IVHFH also says the organization's HabLab building next door "sustained significant damage and will require several critical repairs." That building has additional storage space, along with an office, kitchen, and classroom.

Iowa Valley Habit for Humanity Construction Manager, Christy Shipley reflected on the loss of the building: “The warehouse was my dream project for more than a decade... when I got the word we were ready to build this space back in 2016, I was thrilled. It had been everything we wanted and needed to grow our construction capacity. I’ve asked for a lot of help from our volunteers and supporters in my 17 years with Habitat, but we need you now more than ever. Please consider whatever you can do to lend a hand and help us rebuild this essential space.”

IVHFH serves a five-county area (Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Louisa, and Washington) that was hard hit by severe weather last week. The organization says they will continue "to respond to emergency requests for home repairs, major appliance replacements, and any other home repairs offered under the Helping Hands program of IVHFH."

Donations are needed, especially to immediately purchase needed equipment, supplies, and tools, as well as for cleanup. All of that will allow the organization to continue its work while navigating through the insurance process. Donations can be made HERE.

You can also sign up to volunteer to help with the clean-up this Saturday, April 8 from 9 a.m. to noon at the site, which is located at 4764 420th Street in Iowa City. You must pre-register, and be at least 16 years old. You can sign up to help HERE.


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