Washington, Illinois tornado victims share Thanksgiving meal

November 27, 2013 (WASHINGTON, Ill.)

The mayor of Washington has said "thank you" more times than he could have ever imagined. On Wednesday, a community said thank you to volunteers who've worked tirelessly, and to residents like the DuBois family-- their home is nothing but a pile of rubble.

"It's hard to keep yourself together in something like that, and Gavin my boy looks at me and says 'Dad, dont worry. It's just stuff,'" said Ben DuBois.

There is the stuff of ruin, and there is the stuff of giving. This is one of two major donation drop-offs, an old warehouse getting filled with a growing supply of clothing, shoes, food. Every day more arrives.

"There is so much stuff is coming to the area we needed to find shelter," said Deacon Bob Sondag, Peoria Catholic Diocese.

What's generally acknowledged to be more helpful are financial donations, but the mayor makes clear, nothing will be turned away.

"My thing is we're gonna be able to take care of people that are homeless, if there's a tragedy somewhere else, we'll regift," said Mayor Gary Manier.

Washington got a big gift today from The Chicago Blackhawks charities in the form of a $200,000 check toward tornado relief. At the heart of the applause is the power of a community to comeback.

"This is gonna be a long process to get things back to normal whatever normal is, but we will do it," said Kim Wuebbem, volunteer.

Former White Sox slugger and Peoria native Jim Thome is also giving $100,000 to the tornado relief effort here, and his four former major league clubs are also going to chip in.

On Thursday, Thanksgiving in Washington will carry a far more powerful meaning than ever before.

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