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Cedar Rapids's Thrivent Financial, Preston volunteers donate 7,500 meals to Nebraska flood victims

Thrivent Financial photos

Helen Badrick and Adalynn Weber help prepare food donations for flood-impacted residents in the Midwest on March 20 in Preston.
Thrivent Financial photos Helen Badrick and Adalynn Weber help prepare food donations for flood-impacted residents in the Midwest on March 20 in Preston.
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CEDAR RAPIDS — When employees at Cedar Rapids’s Thrivent Financial heard an organization in Nebraska was gathering food and supplies for those wracked by flooding, they knew they had to act.

Jo Anne Renfro, office professional with Thrivent Financial, said the Christian organization often participates in volunteer activities and donations.

The most recent effort — partnering with Take Away Hunger to donate 7,500 meals late last month to Nebraska’s Orphan Grain Train to go to flood victims — was very relatable for many Eastern Iowans.

“As we know in Cedar Rapids, there’s lots of devastation, and so many opportunities to help,” Renfro said. “That is certainly high on our minds at this point because people have been through that here.”

Renfro said the donations are one-pot meals, which just need boiling water to cook. Each package contains six meals.

The meals were put together by volunteers from St. John’s Lutheran Church and St. Joseph Catholic Church in Preston.

The Orphan Grain Train donations will be distributed to Midwestern residents in need.

“Anywhere the flooding is,” Renfro said.

Renfro said the organization last year purchased the equipment needed to package and ship the meals, including bag sealers, scales and boxes.

“We put together everything we need to have an assembly line,” she said.

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Renfro said the organization already is working on the next donation — hygiene kits including items like shampoo and deodorant — for flood victims.

• Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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