American Red Cross organizes shelters for flood victims

Sarah Haas and Allison Suesse

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the American Red Cross had only one shelter open in Ames, said Susie Hemphill, American Red Cross program coordinator.

The organization moved operations to St. Cecilia Church, 2900 Hoover Ave., after opening at First Christian Church, 611 Clark Ave., last night around 10:45 p.m.

The Rev. Mary Jane Button-Harrison, of First Christian Church, said the shelter remained quiet while she was there between 10:45 and midnight. She said during that time, about five or six individuals came to the shelter. She added that the displaced residents were mostly from the area of S. Fifth Street.

“People were coming in very wet,” Button-Harrison said.

Hemphill estimated that at least 10 patrons were using St. Cecilia Church earlier in the day, but said that figure “is certainly higher now.”

“We will open additional shelters as needed,” Hemphill said.

The south side of town in particular has been isolated by floodwaters, which the Red Cross will try to accommodate.

In addition to providing shelter for residents affected by the flood, Ames citizens also can pick up cleanup kits provided by the Red Cross. The kits include cleaning supplies and buckets that can be used to clean up flooded basements.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross can be reached at 515-232-5104 or 426 Fifth Street.