Several Cedar Rapids groups are working to help some of the city’s most vulnerable after the Geneva Tower fire

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Several organizations are working together to help the dozens of people forced from their homes by a high-rise fire in Cedar Rapids. It happened at the Geneva tower early Sunday morning. The apartments serve seniors and people with disabilities through the Affordable Housing Network.

The Red Cross is providing temporary shelter at the Veterans Memorial Building downtown.

The Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids prepares three meals a day to serve from its mobile kitchen to those who lived at the Geneva Tower. About 50 people are staying in the temporary shelter, and even more are coming for food.

“At the shelter, we feed about 65 servings per meal,” said Shawn DeBaar, captain at The Salvation Army.

Access to food was already a struggle before the fire for so many people living in the building. Feed Iowa First installed its first refrigerator-style pantry inside the Geneva Tower in 2020, to give residents easy access to fresh vegetables during the growing season.

“I believe we moved about 2,000 pounds of produce through this specific location this year,” said Emmaly Renshaw, program manager at Feed Iowa First.

The Salvation Army began collecting new underwear and socks in all sizes at its location on C Avenue northwest.

“Most people left with just the clothes on their backs and so those items are essential,” DeBaar said.

Used clothes can be brought to Goodwill or the Salvation Army thrift store on Council Street to the northeast. Residents of Geneva receive vouchers to shop at these stores.

“Someone may have items they need that are different from someone else’s, so they can kind of pick and choose what they need,” said Emily Holley, regional manager of communications to the American Red Cross.

Many people are working together to help some of the most vulnerable in the city know that they are supported not only with essential items, but also in hearts and minds.

“Greetings to the Geneva community, just know that we send our love from Feed Iowa First,” Renshaw said.

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