From The Ashes

“You may not see it, but you are changing people’s lives.”

Service Story
Summer 2020


Imagine comfortably starting your day in a nice home filled with all the things you need to live and then ending your day with only the clothes on your back. For Mia Guzman and her five kids, that was a reality.

The phone rang as Guzman was pulling off the exit to a terminal to pick up a friend from the airport. She was surprised to hear the voice of the Waterloo Police Department on the other end of the line. Thanks to a faulty wire in their freezer, their home had caught on fire.

The fire was maintained in the back hallway where the freezer was, but there was so much smoke and water damage to the entire home from the hoses. Almost nothing was salvageable. Even worse, the family was eight months away from having the home paid off.

Luckily through the generosity of people in their circle, they found temporary places to stay. By the end of the summer, they had found a house Guzman believed they could afford. She then received a letter in the mail from the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, inviting her to a holiday distribution.

With Thanksgiving being a special holiday for her family, she was excited for the opportunity, “I didn’t have a stove to cook my Thanksgiving dinner in, but my friend let me use her stove to cook the turkey. It was so great to actually be able to sit down and have that meal together in what was our home after having such a horrible summer. We are truly blessed and grateful to be here, be alive, and to be able to celebrate this Thanksgiving and just give thanks for you know, what we do have, so thank you so much,” Guzman said.

Guzman sees the impact of the Northeast Iowa Food Bank and thanks all those involved in making the service happen: “We can come together as a family and still have that thanks to you guys offering that to us and all the hard work that everyone does to raise those donations and things like that.”

She also wishes to give a glimpse of how the food has impacted her family: “You may not see it, but you are changing people’s lives. You didn’t get to sit at the table with us enjoying our meal together, but there’s people at home that I’m feeding that get to smile; get to be happy thanks to what you’re doing.”