Severe weather throughout the Midwestern US began early Sunday afternoon and continued through late Sunday evening, with tornadoes tearing through several cities in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. As soon as the storm clouds lifted, The Salvation Army responded, offering food, hydration, shelter and spiritual and emotional care through its network of Corps Community Centers throughout the Midwest.
In the Central Illinois counties of Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford, Illinois, most of the damage was centered around Washington, Illinois. Early reports claimed that an F-4 tornado may have entered Washington (15,000 pop.) and the adjoining areas of Tazewell County at approximately 11:45 am on Sunday, November 17. The most affected cities of Pekin, Morton, Washington and East Peoria (combined pop. of 100,000) suffered fully demolished houses, flooding and severe wind damage. Rescue crews worked through the night, while National Guard and Law Enforcement secured the most damaged areas to limit access.
The Salvation Army has deployed mobile kitchens (canteens) and spiritual care officers to assist in the recovery. Since early Sunday afternoon four canteens from Central Illinois have delivered essential nourishment and hydration to the cities of Washington, Pekin, Roanoke and Gifford, Illinois. In addition, some dry clothing items have been delivered to the search and rescue teams by Salvation Army crews. Salvation Army officers have also been deployed to shelters to comfort survivors.
Today these canteens are providing hot drinks and baked goods for rescue and relief workers in the affected areas. The work of assessing and forecasting the immediate needs of this disaster event continues. Until further notification, the Heartland Division (The Salvation Army in Central Illinois and Eastern Iowa) will consider this a long term assignment and plan accordingly. Salvation Army officials request that you “Please keep this area in your prayers as we move towards recovery.”
In the Metro Chicago area, The Salvation Army has been at work since Sunday afternoon in Grundy and Will Counties. Today a canteen continued to offer food and hydration to first responders and survivors from a base at Coal City High School.
At approximately 2:20 pm Sunday, The Salvation Army dispatched a canteen to Washington County, Illinois for initial response to a report of a tornado touching down in New Minden. Initial reports stated that one house was destroyed, one church was damaged, and there were three confirmed fatalities. Salvation Army Volunteers from Centralia, Illinois assisted with the response effort. The canteen was released by authorities and redeployed to Brookport, Illinois, outside of Paducah, Kentucky, where reports indicated significant tornado damage, with 100 homes affected—50 of those destroyed. A canteen from Paducah is also staged to respond when needed.
In Indiana, the Kokomo Corps Community Center sheltered 30 displaced persons last night and its canteen is serving the people of the city today. Damage in the area was so severe that the city prohibited vehicle traffic throughout Sunday evening and Monday morning. In Lafayette, Indiana another canteen was deployed Monday Morning at the request of local officials.
Canteens across Illinois and Indiana are staged to respond immediately when requested by local or state disaster officials. As the severity and extent of the damage becomes clear, it is expected that a greater response will be required.
Here is a link to some photos from the Kokomo, Indiana, Corps Community Center: http://www.flickr.com/photos/salvationarmyindiana/sets/72157637805956253/with/10925702836/
The best way to help The Salvation Army serve those affected by this storm is make a monetary contribution.
Give online at http://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/usc/2013-storms
Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY [1-800-725-2769]
To donate via mail, please send your check, designated "November Tornadoes" to:
ATTN: NOVEMBER TORNADOES
THE SALVATION ARMY
10 W ALGONQUIN ROAD
DES PLAINES, IL 60016-6000
Text to give:
Text STORM to 80888 and reply YES to confirm your donation*.
Terms and conditions:
Donations of Household Good and Clothing:
Due to the emergency situation, The Salvation Army cannot guarantee that any individual donations of household goods or clothing (gifts-in-kind) will be sent to the disaster area. In times of disaster, our stores fill these needs from existing, pre-sorted stock. PLEASE continue to donate gently-used household goods to your local Salvation Army store. You will help your community and help us prepare for future disaster relief needs. To find your nearest drop-off location, please go to www.satruck.org.
Companies who wish to donate emergency supplies in bulk:
Please contact Cheri Muller at The Salvation Army’s Heartland Divisional HQ in Peoria at (309) 655-7220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheri will work with you to determine suitability of donation, our capacity to use it, and where it should be delivered.