Meredith Community Project Helps Erase Flash Flooding Damage in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa  -- It's been three months since a historic rainstorm triggered flash flooding that destroyed dozens of homes in Des Moines.  Many of those homeowners are still far from back to normal.  On Thursday one homeowner got help from an unexpected source: the staff of Meredith Publishing.

Meredith held it's 17th annual workday community project on Thursday.  The company and hundreds of employees partnered with the group Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines to find repair projects around the city.

Making the list was the home of Tombra Bipledha.  On June 30th her family's home fell victim to flash flooding that left feet of water standing in the basement.  The family did not have flood insurance.  Since the flood they've pumped out the water and torn out all the damaged sections.  On Thursday morning a group of Meredith employees showed up to take it from there.

They hung dry wall, painted, donated a washer and dryer, finished a bathroom and hung a few new doors upstairs and cleaned up the landscaping.  Volunteers say its the least they could do for a family in need.

"It's the difference in knowing you have the comfort to come home and know your house is whole," said volunteer John Gaspari, "they've been picking away at it to get it done but the level of stress to have a basement that was finished and a bedroom down there was unusable for the last three months.  It's awful."

Along with nine homes in the Beaverdale and Merle Hay neighborhoods the group also helped spruce up outside Moore Elementary School and Meredith Middle School in Des Moines.  Among those rolling up their sleeves at the school project was Steve Lacy, Meredith's Executive Chairman.

"This is really an opportunity for us to do things that are out of the school budget and they're not able to do," said Lacy, "they can't really take on these kids of projects ... so we're glad to come.  We pay for all the materials, we pay for all the labor and it results in a much nicer area for the kids at the school."