Boy celebrates birthday at Red Cross shelter - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Boy celebrates birthday at Red Cross shelter

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(KWWL) -

UPDATE:  The American Red Cross says about 120 people are in their shelters overnight.


As devastation floods Eastern Iowa, many who were displaced are still keeping a positive attitude, giving full meaning to the words "Iowa Strong." As they brace for the worst, one family celebrated the small victory tonight: a birthday cake. 

Cedar Rapids is bracing for high water as the Cedar River is expected to crest Tuesday afternoon. Many who were forced to evacuate are seeking housing at Red Cross shelters. 

There are two Red Cross shelters in Cedar Rapids. One is at the Cedar Hills Community Church, and the other is at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. 

At the Cedar Hills Community Church, they're prepared for up to 300 residents. Currently, they're providing shelter to around 80 residents. 

Total strangers are doing what they can to make sure each and everyone one of these families who have been displaced, feel at home tonight. 

Whether it's a pillow or a coloring book or even a hot meal. 

Crystal Urquidez is seeking shelter at the Red Cross. This isn't the first flood she's seen. Urquidez left Iowa after the floods of 2008.

"And we came back this year, so we went out with the flood and we came back in with one," said Urquidez. 

In the midst of devastation, volunteers all across Eastern Iowa are coming together to help those who otherwise would not know where to turn. 

"In our car, that would be our only option is our car so thank god for Red Cross & this church," said Urquidez 

For Urquidez and her son Keegan, they're celebrating the small victory tonight as they wait for what's to come. 

"How was I going to go to work today with no child care and schools being cancelled?" said Urquidez. "A lady overheard and she's a member of this church and she said oh I'll watch them so when we showed up there this morning she had this cake ready to for him for his birthday..we both cried."

Keegan, alongside friends who were complete strangers less than a day ago, celebrated his 11th birthday. 

As for Keegan, he describes his birthday in one word. "Awesome," said Keegan. 

The Red Cross still has room for anyone looking for shelter over the next few days.

In addition to the two Cedar Rapids locations, there are locations at the University of Northern Iowa's West Gym, and the Grace Baptist Church in Waverly.

KWWL has also partnered with the Red Cross to help flood victims. Text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or click on this link:

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