MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — As the needs continue to grow after deadly tornados over the weekend in Kentucky and several states across the Midwest and South, a Marshalltown man hopes his tornado experience can help bring some hope in time for the holidays.
“A lot of people may have had Christmas trees up with gifts already underneath them and ready for the holidays and then just to have all that torn away from you in a matter of seconds is just devastating to say the least,” said Jake Rowley of Marshalltown.
After an EF-3 tornado devastated Marshalltown in 2018, Rowley and a group of Marshalltown volunteers formed Dream Team Disaster Relief. The group sprung into action with relief efforts to help get the town back on its feet. The group did the same when Nebraska was hit hard with floods in 2019, and now seeing Kentucky towns leveled by destruction, Rowley wants to lend a hand again.
To help many who have lost everything, he’s created two drop off donation sites in Marshalltown that will be open through Saturday at 5 p.m. The first is during business hours at the State Farm office on 207 East Church Street. The second is Exterior + Home Remodeling on 1304 Iowa Avenue West.
Based on experience from Marshalltown residents, Rowley wants donations to stick to the following list: Paper products, diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, blankets, socks, coats, tarps, rakes, shovels, gloves, mops, brooms, trash bags, coolers, trash cans, cleaning, first aid and hygiene products. Rowley operates a junk removal company but plans to drive to Kentucky early Sunday morning with all of the donations along with tree removal equipment, an RV to sleep in and two 20-yard dumpsters for cleanup.
Rowley said, “Baby supplies is a huge one. It’s almost every disaster we go to baby supplies are the one item that almost every shelter is always out of. When disasters like this hit and we are in the position to help, not only financially but time wise, we are going to do everything we can to help.”
Monetary donations will also be accepted at the State Farm location on East Church Street or through the group’s PayPal account firstname.lastname@example.org. The group is also hoping to line up a drop-off site with a trustworthy business in the Des Moines metro.