Help centers offer range of support for Fairdale tornado victims

FAIRDALE, Ill. (WLS) -- Help centers are up and running for victims of last week's deadly Illinois tornadoes, offering assistance ranging from supplies to emotional support.

"I've been pretty well off considering I shouldn't really be here," said David Richardson, who lost his home in the tornado.

Richardson's home was blown right off its foundation. His lawnmower is one of the few things that made it through nearly intact. After spending the last week with a friend, he's rented a place in town and is ready to put his life back together.

"I'm going to have my first month's rent covered. I work up in Belvedere, so I gotta job," Richardson said. "I just need a little bit of help to start off again."

To help folks like Richardson, Kirkland's First Lutheran Church has been transformed into a resource center where over 30 agencies are offering everything from mental health services to cash and gift cards.

Monica Martinez is looking for money to hire a structural engineer.

"My major concern is, do I bring my kids into a house that I don't know if it's safe for them. State Farm hasn't stepped up to the plate for me," Martinez said.

It is, for all of Fairdale's residents, an overwhelming process. Which is why, just outside the church Wednesday, you could find Kye and Bekah, providing comfort to those who needed just a minute to relieve some of that emotion.

"Just in petting a dog, people have a moment to just slow down, to have a quiet moment, a little bit of normalcy," said Libby Robertson of Lutheran Church Charities.

Meanwhile, it is the need for cash over supplies that has led the Village of Kirkland to set up a GoFundMe page so people who want to help can donate. For survivors who do need material goods, those are now being stored and distributed at the Hiawatha School District's bus barn.

"I'm getting a lot of toilet paper and paper towels. And I'm a farmer so gloves, leather gloves," said Raymond Roach, a Fairdale resident.

Progress is being made in terms of debris cleanup as well. Power is beginning to be restored to homes declared structurally sound. In the meantime, access to Fairdale is still being restricted so that all of the work can continue.

For more information, visit:
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.