38 Hours Without Power

Aug 24, 2020

Not everyone knew how to pronounce the storm that blew through the greater Chicago area a couple weeks ago, but residents of the Parkside Drive Apartments in DeKalb were certain of the devastation it left behind. The derecho – an intense, widespread windstorm – dropped hail, downed trees, and took out the power for thousands throughout the area, including the 92 residents of Parkside Drive.

As the power outage that started around 3 p.m. on a Monday stretched into Tuesday, apartment manager Cindy Anderson worried about her tenants, many of whom are elderly. She and the building owner bought all the residents pizza, but Cindy knew the need was greater than one meal. So, she called The Salvation Army DeKalb Corps Community Center.

By then it was clear that the residents would have to throw out the contents of their refrigerators, just one more financial blow in the ongoing challenge of 2020. Cindy estimated that about 80 percent of them couldn’t afford to go to the store and replace all their food. Many of the elderly residents are on fixed incomes and a lot of the single residents are doing their best to make ends meet.

When Cindy called the DeKalb Corps, Major Angie Pennington explained that their food pantry was about to close for the day, but that one of their staff would bring some food over. Soon, Sean Staats, who does maintenance and janitorial work at the corps, was pulling into the apartment complex parking lot with a mobile trailer full of chicken, ground beef, pork, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, and dairy products.

“The community has been good to us all throughout the COVID pandemic,” said Major Angie. “We have so much food we have available to give families on a regular basis. So, we didn’t even have to scramble, and could put those resources to use.” In fact, the trailer used to transport the food to the apartment complex was provided by a volunteer just this summer. 

After hanging up with Major Angie, Cindy went door to door to tell her tenants about the food delivery. When she saw the contents of the Salvation Army trailer, she was impressed. “There was so much food,” Cindy said. “It was just awesome.”

“They were all very happy,” Sean said of the residents lined up to meet him. “They kept thanking me.” He packed a few extra boxes for the residents he was told work nights, and made sure they all knew about the corps’ food pantry, inviting them to come by whenever they’re short-handed.

“The tenants talked about how good the food was for days,” said Cindy, which was well after the power returned – 38 hours after they lost it. She added that she cares about her tenants like family. “I didn’t want to watch them go without food,” she said. Thankfully, she didn’t have to. “We’re very appreciative of what The Salvation Army did.”

Learn about all the ways The Salvation Army is responding to the coronavirus – as well as how you can help – at salarmychicago.org/coronavirus

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For tax purposes: The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division EIN is 36-2167910.

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