Student volunteers assist in

By Rick Moreci

Over the past weekend, members of the United Campus Ministries went to Waterloo, Iowa to help victims clean up after the most recent flooding.

Fifteen students left NIU last Friday night for Iowa to clear up the damaged property of some houses afflicted by this summer’s massive flooding. The students stayed in St. Paul Methodist Church on Friday night where they played an exciting game of hide and go seek. These volunteers worked all day Saturday before returning to NIU late Saturday night.

The city of Waterloo is not on the Mississippi River. There are, however, three different subsidiary rivers that all come together in Waterloo.

The student volunteers separated into two different groups in order to effectively do as much work as possible. These two groups went to different houses to clear out items that were destroyed by the heavy rains. Some of these items included furniture, clothing and carpeting. By the time the students were done with their first house, they had cleared out a pile of garbage which amounted to 4 feet by 15 feet. The second house they did was even worse.

“It was overwhelming to go downstairs and look at all the stuff that was destroyed,” said Kevin Abrams, President of the United Campus Ministries.

When all of the garbage was brought out of the houses, the groups cleaned and scrubbed the afflicted areas in the house to sanitize from bacteria. “It was a really rewarding experience,” said Jami Vanstrom, one of the student volunteers. “The people were really grateful. One lady was so grateful that she bought pop and chips for everyone in our group.”

The reason these houses were so bad was not directly related to the flooding in their city. What had happened was the ground was so saturated that the underground drainage pipes spit water and mud into these older houses. The water and mud had actually come up through the basement floors and walls.

There were different affiliations that made the trip to Waterloo possible said Abrams. The Sycamore United Methodist Church volunteered their van for the trip to Waterloo. Other stores in the DeKalb area donated items such as gloves to aide with the clean up. “I would like to thank all of the people and groups that helped us in our effort to aid these flood victims,” said Abrams.

“It was a really good weekend,” said Cindy Walker, another student volunteer. Another volunteer, Ken Hahn said, “It was a lot of work, but also a good experience.”

The weekend ended with the return of the volunteers to the Wesley Foundation at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night. The ironic thing was that it had rained here all day Saturday. As a result, the basement of the Wesley Foundation was flooded. Two of the volunteers, Kevin Abrams and Ken Hahn, got up early on Sunday to once again clean up after a flood.