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FLOOD: Johnson County Shelters Open

JOHNSON COUNTY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - While Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and other corridor communities are raising barricades to keep water out, the United Way and Red Cross are raising small armies of volunteers, just in case.

"We are opening a shelter here in Johnson County" said shelter manager Diane Mark. "We understand there will be some people that will be evacuating from their homes."

When the river rises, forces people from their homes and seems to throw everything up in the air, "they come in thinking 'I don't know where I am or where I'm going or where my children are maybe. Or where my family is and I'm really worried about it all," said Diane.

The goal in the shelter is to find "normal" again.

"Just take a moment and reflect about every night when you go to bed, what your routine is," said Executive Director of the Eastern Iowa American Red Cross Chapter Pami Erickson.

The accommodations aren't luxurious, the food comes in a box, and yet, Diane says a helping hand can make people calm down and be happier.

"Somebody cares and that's really important for them to know that," said Diane. "It's a great feeling on our part knowing that we're able to assist that in some way."

"It feels really neat to be able to do this," said Leo Mock. "It's hard to describe how good you feel about helping."

The United Way is stationed near by coordinating volunteer efforts. Their volunteer center is open from 8 am to 8 pm, sending volunteers to the places they are needed the most.
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