CAM Volunteers Clean Up Storm-Ravaged Cedar Rapids Neighborhood

This isn’t exactly an Amish story, but it has Amish undertones and is “feel-good” to boot, so I thought it would be a good one to share with you.

A strong storm moved through the Midwest several days ago, described as a “derecho“. It was likened to an “inland hurricane”, with winds exceeding 100mph in some places. This left extensive damage across several states.

Volunteers from CAM (Christian Aid Ministries), a mission organization of Mennonites, Amish, and other conservative Anabaptists, are helping to clean up a Cedar Rapids Iowa neighborhood in the aftermath.

It happened that one of the homeowners knew someone from Kalona, site or one of the state’s largest Amish settlements. From KCRG:

The help started with a phone call Tuesday night. One of the Pratts’ neighbors had sold a boat a few months ago to a man from Kalona. That man, Smidt’s brother-in-law, called the family he bought the boat from to see how they were doing following Monday’s storms.

When they told him what damage their neighborhood sustained, he promised help the next morning, which arrived with the 25 Christian Aid Ministries volunteers.

Workers cut down damaged trees, removed branches, and raked lawns, for free, for anyone that needed it. Families were very grateful:

“How could we be so lucky, how could we be so blessed to have that kind of help show up just when we needed it?” Tracy said.

The assistance saved this entire neighborhood weeks of work, plus the money many of them would need to pay to clear the bigger trees.

“It truly was a big help,” Kyle said. “I helped a little bit with them, but they did all the heavy lifting. I barely had to do anything, so it’s just amazing. I really do feel lucky.”

“I saw a couple grown men crying because we showed up. That almost made me cry,” Tyler added.

I don’t see any any Amish people in the video provided. That doesn’t mean they won’t have some joining. Amish frequently help with clean up and rebuilding projects and CAM is an important vehicle for that work. Either way, the volunteers plan to be in the area through Saturday helping other homeowners. Good for them and great story.

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    1. Elaine M Jordan

      Cedar Rapids

      All of us in Cedar Rapids appreciate all the help & all of the prayers!

    2. Denise Joyal


      Everyone in the Cedar Rapids/Marion area appreciates everyone’s help. The Amish are also here volunteering and working on roofing. We have a tree service and have been working non-stop. It’s both satisfying and sometimes heartbreaking, to help those that are in need.