PEIA Derecho Response

If you wish to donate to the Presbytery’s Disaster Fund, please click here

OR mail a check to

Presbytery of East Iowa
1700 S. 1st Ave. Ste 23
Iowa City, IA 52240
Please write “Disaster Recovery Fund” in the memo line

Who should we contact?
For PDA grant assistance and church damage, contact Dr. Rebecca Blair, Stated Clerk
To volunteer as an individual or group, contact Rev. Kristin Hutson, Disaster Task Force Chair
Not sure who to call? For immediate assistance or questions, call Julia in the office at 319-354-9220


The Presbytery has hosted ten separate work days to assist in storm clean up. We have cleared debris from churches, residences, and private organizations. We have passed out sandwiches, barbeque, and school supplies to impacted communities. We have reached out to rural communities and farmers with pastoral care. We are here for the long haul.

To date, we have given away $31,000 including $17,000 to food banks that either lost food in the storm or have seen an increase in traffic because of the storm, $1000 in school supplies for area youth, and additional money supporting local agencies that work with refugee communities.

Additionally, we are planning a tree initiative in the spring to replace some of the trees lost in the storm.

The DRTF will present a full report to the Presbytery at the November 19, 2020 Stated Meeting.

None of this would be possible without the prayers, volunteers, donations, and well wishes from people all over the country. We are humbled and grateful for all of the support we have received.

To download a flyer of PEIA efforts in the derecho clean-up please click here.

Please be sure and follow us on facebook or go to for updates.


The Disaster Recovery Task Force (DRTF) organized a second All-Iowa Presbyterians Work Day at Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center on October 17, 2020. The retreat center experienced extensive damage to their woods and land, including the total loss of many of their most well-known trees. This time our work focused on the hilly area and creek bed along the Cosmic Walk.

You can view photos of this event and all other events on the PEIA Flickr page.

The DRTF continues to work with churches to complete their PDA grants.  The Presbytery was approved for a streamlined process for Church Employee Emergency Assistance Grants from the Board of Pensions. We are in the process of collecting detailed information from those impacted by the storm.




from Dr. Rebecca Blair, PEIA Stated Clerk:

The Board of Pensions offers Church Employee Emergency Assistance Grants that we may apply for on behalf of church employees within the Presbytery of East Iowa who have been impacted by the derecho.  To apply for these grants, we need to identify any and all church employees who experienced personal financial distress because of the derecho storm. Employee financial distress includes any loss or damage to property (including that covered by homeowner’s policy), loss of food because of power outage, expenses related to tree removal, expenses related to generator purchase, and basically any unexpected expenses caused by the storm and its aftermath.

If at least 12 or so impacted church employees, the Board of Pensions may be able to offer stream-lined grants of up to $1000 per impacted employee.  We need to know who has been impacted to determine if we might qualify for this stream-lined grant assistance.  Please reach out to all of your church employees (defined as anyone to whom the church issues a W-2) and ask them whether they experienced any loss, damage, or financial distress.  This includes everyone on the church payroll including pastor, custodian, musicians, secretary, nursery attendant, parish nurse, etc.  Time is of  the essence in this application process.  Please call each of your employees as soon as possible and then, use this Church Employee Emergency Assistance Information Form to reply to the Presbytery.  We need comprehensive information on all of the churches potentially affected by this story, so even if you do not have any impacted employees, please fill out and return this form.


Click here to download the PEIA Derecho Response Flyer.  This flyer can be downloaded and shared within our churches.

In response to the derecho storm disaster, the Presbytery of East Iowa set up a Disaster Response Task Force  (DRTF) and applied for a $7500 grant from Presbyterian Disaster Relief. PDA also set up a fund for disaster relief in Iowa and an additional $20,000+ has been received. This is great news!

This last week, the DRTF authorized $2000 go to the food pantries run by the Presbyterian Church in Atkins and Loaves and Fishes at Westminster in Cedar Rapids, both of which lost freezers of food in the power outage. In addition, they authorized $3000 be given to the Hoover Community Food Pantry. This pantry, run out of Hoover Elementary on NW Cedar Rapids, is especially important to many of the refugee families in nearby apartments that devastated. The DRTF is checking in with other food pantries in the area to see if they also need funds.

In addition, the DRTF sponsored a Back to School BBQ at Westminster in Cedar Rapids. Over 450 hotdogs and hamburgers were served and an estimated 250 students received school supplies. On Saturday, September 5, one-hundred and one Presbyterians volunteered to help cut down limbs and move tree debris at an All Iowa Service Day at Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Retreat Center.


All Iowa Presbyterians Day of Mission

As part of our ongoing recovery efforts in the wake of the Derecho storm, the Presbytery of East Iowa is coordinating a one-day mission experience for Presbyterian volunteers from the entire state to gather and work alongside one another as we try to make a difference. The event will take place on Saturday, September 5 of Labor Day Weekend. We will gather at Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center in Hiawatha, just outside Cedar Rapids city limits at 120 E Boyson Rd, Hiawatha, IA 52233.

Founded by several Catholic nuns (now all over 75 years old) who still run the facility, the center offers visitors an opportunity for peace, rest, and education about eco-spirituality. There are 70 acres of prairie and forest and 50 miles of trails at Prairiewoods. The retreat center experienced extensive damage to their woods and land, including the total loss of many of their most well-known trees. They are in deep need of help.

Our day will begin with a time of welcome and prayer at 9:00 a.m. Work will consist of clearing trails, breaking down trees, and moving brush and debris. At noon we will break for lunch provided by the Sisters of Prairiewoods. We will work a full afternoon, ending at 3:45 p.m. for a time of reflection and prayer.

Please note that social distancing protocols will be in place and all are expected to wear masks when gathered with others. Participants will also receive blue Presbyterian Disaster Assistance t-shirts as a token of our appreciation.

9:00am Welcome, blessing of day’s work, and distribution of PDA t-shirts
12:00pm Lunch to be provided by the Sisters
3:45pm Work ends as we gather for closing reflection and prayer

If you want to participate in this opportunity, please sign up to volunteer using this link or send an email to Kristin Hutson at the PEIA Disaster Recovery Task Force.

Please click to see our flyer and distribute within your networks.


Back-to-School Supply Giveaway & BBQ

The Presbytery of East Iowa, in partnership Cedar Rapids/Westminster Presbyterian Church, Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, Arnie’s Corner BBQ, and other community partners, is sponsoring:

Wellington Heights Back-to-School Supply Giveaway and BBQ
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry and Westminster Presbyterian Church Parking Lot: 1285 3rd Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403

Want to donate school supplies?

Go to our Amazon Wishlist by clicking here. “Order the school supplies of your choice from our wishlist and choose to have it shipped directly to “PEIA Disaster Response Taskforce.”

So that we receive your donations by Monday afternoon, please order as soon as possible and no later than Friday, August 28.If you prefer to buy and deliver the school supplies in person, Westminster will receive such donations Tuesday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. of this week and Monday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m and Tuesday 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Westminster Presbyterian Church
1285 3rd Ave. SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403

The last time to donate supplies is Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 11:00am

For those purchasing supplies in person, please use our Amazon Wishlist for guidance on what we hope to receive and give out.  You may find that list by clicking here.

Please check out our flyer and distribute it within your network.
Questions? Call the Presbytery Office at 319-354-9220

Today we hosted groups from United Presbyterian in Clarion and from Le Claire/First.  The Clarion crew helped clear Sunrise Mobile Home Park and three other sites.  The Le Claire/First began a partnership with Heritage Agency for Aging — Kirkwood.  They cleaned the freezers of several in the elderly population and conducted welfare checks.

8/18/2020 Today is a huge day for the Presbytery. North Central Iowa Presbytery is bringing a crew to 3 Cedar Rapids churches. Individuals from around PEIA will join them. Iowa City/St Andrew will volunteer at Cedar Rapids/Westminster’s food pantry, Loaves and Fishes and host a free neighborhood BBQ in the afternoon.
Interested in volunteering in the future? Message the office or call 319-354-9220. We will connect you with our Disaster Response Team.


Derecho Email 8/17/2020

Derecho Email 8/14/2020

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Derecho Site

last updated 10/22 at 11:55am