Chicagoans organize to help Hurricane Patricia victims

MELROSE PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- People in Chicago with family in Hurricane Patricia's path are preparing for the worst. Relatives have their phones glued to their hand, checking for text messages, checking Facebook, checking for anything to find out if their family is okay as Patricia pounds the state of Jalisco in Mexico.

Photos of gigantic trees uprooted by high winds, street signs knocked over like toothpicks and water flowing into streets are just some of the devastating images trickling back to Mexican-American families here in Chicago.

"They don't have a lot over there," says Sally Casilles, who has family in the path of the storm. "With this hurricane it makes it more difficult for them to even survive."

Casilles says she's worried about her cousins, aunts, and uncles who don't have the means to escape inland. They are riding out Hurricane Patricia from their farm.

"Some of them are getting food, water, they are staying at home," she says.

Casa Jalisco in Melrose Park is trying to help from 2,000 miles away. If you are concerned about a loved one in the path of the storm, the federation will reach out to one of the 79 shelters in Mexico to find them.

"We get ahold of those shelters, and see if we can find their relatives and be able to help them that way," says Judith de la Mora, president of the Federal of Homeowner Associations from the State of Jalisco.

Right now Casilles says her family is doing okay, but with pictures of the storm and mounting damage coming through every hour, she's hoping tomorrow she can say the same.

If you want to help, Casa Jalisco is accepting donations which will go toward getting those people in the state of Jalisco, which is in the eye of the hurricane, food and water in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago is also preparing to rush assistance to the region as soon as the storm passes. An emergency fund to support those efforts has been opened, and Chicagoans can contribute online at, by calling (312) 444-2869, or by sending a check to the Jewish Federation Hurricane Patricia Relief Fund, Room 3017, 30 S. Wells St., Chicago, IL 60606.
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