Support Cedar Rapids’ Flood-Impacted Businesses: #CRGavelChallenge

Thanks to the kindness and hard work of thousands of Cedar Rapids individuals and families, most of Cedar Rapids stayed dry during the Flood of 2016. We have been blown away by the number of people who spent hours volunteering to help their neighbors and complete strangers move items out of their homes and businesses, lent out trucks and trailers, filled sandbags, and hauled sandbags to needy individuals. The volunteer hours continue as sandbags are removed and the cleanup continues.  Our community united in the face of disaster and showed once again that we are #CRStrong!

#CRGavelChallengeWhile most of the businesses in the flood zone are thankful to be dry, they were still impacted financially by the closures.  With that in mind, Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett has challenged residents to visit at least 10 affected businesses during the month of October.  As a thanks for the investment the city has made in local bike lanes and trails, he has challenged local bikers to visit 15.


To encourage citizens’ participation, Mayor Corbett has issued the #CRGavelChallenge. Every time you visit an affected business, snap a pic and share on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #CRGavelChallenge.  Winners will receive the following:

Grand Prize Winner::

The Grand Prize winner will become Honorary Mayor for a day, receive a proclamation, and will have the opportunity to gavel in a City of Cedar Rapids Council Meeting.

2nd Place Winner::

The second place winner will receive a $100 gift certificate.

3rd Place Winner::

The third place winner will receive a $50 gift certificate.

You can watch Mayor Corbett’s video challenge here.

Impacted Businesses

Many businesses have already reopened! Some, including NewBo Market, will be reopening on October 13th.  To check and see whether your favorite business is up and running, be sure to visit the GOCedarRapids website or The Gazette website.

While you’re at it, make sure to support the businesses who were directly affected by flood waters!  On October 15th there will be a “NoBo Flood Party” to benefit Tornado’s, Bo Macs Pizza, Mad Modern, Kickstand and Bo Town Amphitheater. The party will be for all ages until 10:00 pm (21 and over from 10-bar close).  Live music starts at 11:20 a.m. There will be a free will donation at the gate and the event will also include food, drinks, a silent auction, and other activities.

Other Ways to Help

Volunteer. There are still many homeowners and businesses who need physical help! Be sure to check the CR Flood Help 2016 Facebook page for the most up-to-date list of needs. You can also sign up to help via the United Way of East Central Iowa website.

Buy a shirt. We ♥ Raygun, and as you might expect, they have created several awesome Flood 2016 shirts. Even better, they’re donating proceeds from the sales of the shirts to help with NewBo recovery efforts. You can stop in the store and pick one up (call first to see if they have some in!) or order one online!

Donate. The Red Cross is always the first to help in the midst of disasters large and small. You can help fund their disaster assistance online,by  calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. You can also help by donating items to local food pantries, which have been used even more than usual during the evacuation and clean-up period.

Spread the word. Tell your friends how they can support businesses in the flood zone. In addition, tons of local businesses outside the flood zone stepped up to help by making donations, offering storage space, sending volunteers, and more. If you know of a local business who helped serve our community, be sure to support them as well!

Together we are #CRStrong!


Related Articles

Join our community.
Be the first to know about new resources, can't-miss happenings, and new blog articles! 
Yay, we're so glad you're here! Keep an eye on your inbox