Illinois tornado 2021: Resource center for storm victims opens Saturday in Woodridge

WOODRIDGE, Ill. (WLS) -- Like dozens of their neighbors, Jennie and Mike Madsen spent part of their day Saturday at Woodridge's Jefferson Junior High gathering supplies and resources to help them recover from last Sunday's tornado.

"This is so beneficial, we can't even describe it," Jennie said.


With the help of the Red Cross this weekend, the school has been converted into a multi-agency resource center.

"We have more than 20 partners here today that can provide financial assistance, can provide health services and help people with disaster mental health," said Joy Squire with the Red Cross of Illinois.

The idea is a one-stop shopping for all necessary resources. Anyone affected by the tornado can walk in and get help.

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"When they come in, they are given a volunteer that walks them through the process because it can be super overwhelming, so we give them a one-on-one volunteer to walk through every table," Joy Medrano with Northeast Illinois COAD said.

Residents are also assigned case workers.

"We go up and down the rows and stop at any table we feel is beneficial to us," Jennie said.

Throughout the process, therapy dogs were on hand to help, as well. The final stop is a room full of free donated supplies where residents can use grocery carts to load up.

"It's overwhelming, you don't know where to get help or ask for help so this was nice. There were a lot resources here I was not aware was available," said Woodridge resident Colleen Merkle.

Merkle said the resource center put her mind at ease after a very trying and emotional week.

"It's devastating to look out the window and see everything you have worked so hard for is gone," she added.

The multi-agency resource center will also be open Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon, and help doesn't end three as case workers prepare to follow up with each resident in days to come to make sure they are getting the help they need.


State and local agencies offering assistance through the DuPage County resource center include:

-American Red Cross
-Catholic Charities
-DuPage Family Community Resource Center
-DuPage County Community Services
-DuPage Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
-DuPage Senior Citizens Council
-DuPage Disaster Services
-Hope Therapy Dogs
-Illinois Attorney General's Office
-Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
-Illinois Department of Human Services

-Illinois Regional Office of Education
-Islamic Center for North America
-Lutheran Disaster Services
-Muslims for Humanity
-Purple Manatee
-Rainbow Therapy Dogs
-St. Vincent De Paul
-Tears in Heaven
-Tzu Chi Foundation
-YMCA Metropolitan Chicago

You can find more information about the resource center on Illinois.gov.

The video in the player above is from a previous report.
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