WINTERSET, Iowa — As the sun rose in Winterset, Iowa, a church prepared to serve people the food and warmth they needed in the wake of Saturday's devastating tornado.
Winterset's New Bridge Church opened as an emergency shelter in the aftermath of the disaster, allowing anyone whose homes were destroyed or damaged a place to stay the night and charge their phones before the troubling days ahead.
Then, hours later as the sun rose, even more people gathered there to provide even more, firing up the stoves to cook breakfast.
As tornado victims woke up Sunday morning, volunteers, including Steve Keller, served hot pancake breakfasts to anyone who needed a meal and, even beyond the basic needs, some comfort.
Keller was out and about in the aftermath, seeing firsthand the effect that the devastation had on his neighbors.
"The minute something like this hit the first thing people were thinking was how can I help somebody else?" Keller said. "People are just kinda in shock right now I think. I mean when you're in a small town like this, you never think something like this would happen to you. and it really can."
New Bridge Church pastor Jon Schall recalled the previous night's chaos, seeing people turn to faith and each other in the darkest of hours.
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"Last night I spent about 2.5 hours at the hospital with a family who had lost loved ones. Had the opportunity to minister to that family and help care for them. The best thing we can do is walk beside them," Schall told WOI.
And as Keller says, helping each other out in situations like this is easier than it may seem.
"I think you just love on them and be available for whatever they need and just be there for them. If its a shoulder to cry on, if it's a pair of hands to lift, something, whatever that is; that's where we need to be and that's what I'm here to do whatever that is."
Pastor Schall says he expects New Bridge Church to remain open as a shelter for a few more days or until the service is no longer needed.