ANKENY, Iowa — The nonprofit TAKE in Ankeny is assisting residents of the Walnut Ridge Apartments with clothes and other necessities after a fire tore through the building on Tuesday.
“I have two kids. They’re really sad too. I keep thinking about all the possessions we’ve lost and how nice my apartment was, and just the thought of having to shop and get everything to replace is kind of overwhelming,” said Amy Yeager, a former resident of the Walnut Ridge Apartments.
Yeager says she moved into the apartments in early July 2021. She is one of 50 residents to be impacted by the fire. Officials believe the fire was started by accident.
Now numerous community organizations are lending a helping hand to their neighbors.
“Those families lost everything they owned in that fire, and so we’re trying to give them a fresh start to getting back to some place of normalcy by coming in today,” said LuAnn Barnes, a volunteer with TAKE.
Other organizations like A Helping Hand in Ankeny and the Ankeny Service Center believe finding tenants with affordable housing will be challenging.
“Clothing wise and necessity wise, [assistance] has instantly been filled,” said Desiray Walker, the president and co-founder of A Helping Hand in Ankeny and the resource manager for the Ankeny Service Center. “So it’s more of the funds to continue to get them on their feet and the struggle with housing.”
“We have five or six families who still don’t have anywhere to go,” said Sarah Wiser, the executive director for the Ankeny Service Center. “Two that I know of are sleeping in their vehicles. Unfortunately it’s very expensive here in Ankeny to find affordable housing, and that’s a huge, huge issue.”
Although Yeager is grateful for the assistance, she is trying to figure out how to rebuild her life.
“I guess it’s time to go apartment shopping again, and I’m just going to try to rebuild everything that I lost,” Yeager said.
Donations for residents are being accepted at ankenyservicecenter.org