Just a few hours after an EF1 tornado tore through the northwest Iowa town of Lake City, American Red Cross volunteers were on scene and ready to help.
They quickly mobilized in Lake City and set up an emergency shelter at the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital.
Early Monday morning, as families were getting a better idea of the storm damage they faced, a team of Red Cross volunteers collected bottled water and snacks donated by the Fareway grocery store in Carroll, Iowa.
Another group of volunteers set up a reception center at the Lake City Community Building. At the reception center, cleanup volunteers and those impacted by the tornado could find food, water, coffee and emotional support.
For some, the generator powered community building was a place to charge cell phones and catch up with friends.
Sarah Hare was especially grateful for access to electricity at the generator powered facility. While her home was not damaged in the storm, the power outage created an issue for her young son, Quinton. He has Down Syndrome and respiratory issues and needs breathing treatments. Hare was able give those treatments to Quinton at the Red Cross reception center.
"Thank goodness Red Cross was here today," Hare said.
"We were able to come to the community building and not only give him a breathing treatment, but also get something warm to eat for the boys."
For Missy Soren, seeing the tornado damage in her hometown took an emotional toil. She and her two sons were able to talk about what they saw with Red Cross volunteers.
"The high school I went to, my whole family when to, is in question right now and it's just scary," she said. "It [Red Cross and community support] chokes me up a little and reminds me I'm from a small town for the right reason. We all come together when we need to be."
The Red Cross is helping people in eight Midwest states after as many as 135 possible tornadoes moved through the region over the last several days.
Red Cross workers have shelters open and are providing meals, relief supplies and helping people begin to recover after the severe weather which struck communities from Texas through South Dakota. More than 60 people spent Monday night in shelters in Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Iowa. Red Cross response vehicles are moving through the affected communities to hand out meals and relief supplies. Trained volunteers are also beginning to meet one-on-one with families to help people plan their next steps.
After a tornado, it's natural that people want to help. The best way they can help those who have been impacted, is to make a financial donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. These donations allow the Red Cross to immediately help families replace items that they have lost, like specific clothing sizes or critical medications. Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting http://www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.