Tornado cleanup continues as donations pour in for Fairdale, Rochelle

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Residents in tornado-ravaged Fairdale and Rochelle are sifting through what is left of their homes for belongings as volunteers sort through donations. (WLS)

Residents in tornado-ravaged Fairdale and Rochelle are sifting through what is left of their homes for belongings as volunteers sort through donations.

Progress is being made, but the cleanup is slow. IDOT officials are on the scene, hoping to open the roads to traffic as soon as the debris has been cleared. Planning and zoning inspectors are also on the scene to assess the damage at 72 homes in Fairdale, 50 of which were destroyed.

"Power in the village will not be restored probably until late Wednesday," said DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott.

Ed Silvers lives near the center of town, which was the worst hit and where the two fatalities were found. He spent Sunday night in his home on White and Brown streets.

"Normally the town's got noise. It's got lights, activity of some sort. It was just eerie. It was just ungodly quiet," Silvers said.

Overwhelmed with material donations, volunteers at Kirkland's Fire District are organizing and packing everything, still handing out what they can to those in need, but also getting ready to move it all out starting on Tuesday. Anyone still in need of supplies can go to the Kirkland Village Hall's website for a full list of locations where supplies will be available.

"Right now these people don't have homes to store all the perishable type stuff, so the most important thing is monetary donations," said Phil Montgomery, Kirkland Lions Club.

Monday was also the first day school was back in session here. About 30 of the district's students were affected by the tornado.

"The biggest thing for kids is to keep them on a routine as closely and possible so they are safe and secure, so what we're trying to do today is give them as regular a school day as possible," said Sarah Willey, Hiawatha School District.

And while overcoming the tragedy may seem insurmountable now, Mike Walsh is here to tell them different. He lost his home in the Washington tornado a year and a half ago.

"It's one of those defining moments in your life, when you make it through to the other side, you just feel like there isn't a lot that you can't handle," Walsh said.

FUNDRAISING, VOLUNTEER EFFORT

Help is pouring in as the slow recovery process continues in Fairdale and other northern Illinois communities hit by deadly tornadoes.

The Northern Illinois Food Bank sent thousands of packaged meals to food pantries in Rochelle and Kirkland on Monday. The meals were donated by Governor Bruce Rauner and packed by University of Illinois students on Saturday, during the school's Community and Campus Day of Service.

The Chicago Cubs plan to collect donations for tornado victims in Fairdale and Rochelle at Tuesday night's game against the Cincinnati Reds. Cubs staff members will accept monetary donations at the gate, before the game begins.

The money raised will benefit the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort, a McCormick Foundation campaign that supports nonprofits providing disaster relief.

The team said proceeds from the 50/50 raffle will also benefit organizations helping tornado victims. The McCormick Foundation also plans to match the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents on the dollar.

Those who can't make it to Tuesday night's game can still donate at Cubs.com/give through Sunday, April 19.

The American Red Cross is also accepting monetary donations at www.redcross.org.

For more information on how to help the victims of the tornado, click here.

Related Topics:
weathertornadovictimsDeKalb CountyOgle CountyIllinois
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