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IOWA STRONG: 7-year-old uses her art skills to help others in need following the derecho

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Rylee1
Photos courtesy of Rachael Rail
Rylee2
Photos courtesy of Rachael Rail
Rylee3
Photos courtesy of Rachael Rail
Donation
Photos courtesy of Rachael Rail
FeedIowaFirst
Photos courtesy of Rachael Rail

NEVADA, Iowa (KWWL) - 7-year-old Rylee Rail sold stainless steel tumblers with her own artwork etched into them and donated the proceeds to a Cedar Rapids nonprofit.

Rylee, along with help from her mother, Rachael Rail, raised $1,400 for the Feed Iowa First nonprofit organization. Despite living outside of the affected areas, the mother-daughter duo stepped up and did what they could to help those affected by the derecho.

“Every dollar helps but I think we were…we were blown away by how much they raised and we're extremely thankful,” Feed Iowa First Executive Director Carter Oswood said.

Feed Iowa First provides fresh produce for those in need. Following the derecho, many residents utilized their resources. The donation from the Rail family will be used towards purchasing new machinery for the nonprofit.

Rylee supported her mother's decision in donated to Feed Iowa First.

“Help lots of people and help them not starve anymore,” was the reasoning the 7-year-old artist Rylee Rail gave for donating.

The drawing says "Let's be Super" as an inspiring message to those who fell victim to the derecho that hit on August 10th.

"We just felt the need to help,” mother Rachael Rail said.

With the help of a family friend, they were able to turn the idea into a reality. Amanda Flynn owns a small business on Main Street in Nevada, IA called "Iowa Farm Life Dreams," where she engraves the stainless steel tumblers.

“It was a really great way to donate my time and work with her…I was really glad that she approached me because I didn’t know how else to help and that was one thing I could definitely do,” Amanda Flynn said.

What drove the Rail family to start this fundraiser was their relatives in Cedar Rapids, who were among thousands whose home fell victim to the storm.

“I talked to my sister and they just had so much damage. It was really shocking to see it first hand. I mean I know how bad it was but you don’t really understand until you see it," Rachael Rail said.

And although the fundraiser has ended, the Rail family encourages everyone to donate to the many resources available, such as Feed Iowa First.

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Diego Hernandez

Multimedia Journalist

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