Illinois tornado victims: How to help

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A can-do spirit and the willingness to help one another has emerged from the rubble left in the wake of the Illinois tornadoes. In the middle of the devastation, strangers are bonding like families.

Donations are pouring in, but the need is growing and even those who can't get to the tornado ravaged area can help out.

Loraine Raddatz lives across the street from one of the victims and relives the moment she heard the tornado coming.

"I was sitting in a hallway and I heard it come," she said. "The house shook and my dog and I sat there and prayed. I'm thankful to be alive."

Raddatz is unhurt and her home is damaged but still standing. She came to the Kirkland Community Fire District for help, and there is a lot of it.

Tables full of clothing, supplies, and food. Volunteers have been dropping off goods all day.

Kirkland Mayor Les Bellah is overwhelmed by the support for the community next door.

"Fairdale is like Kirkland's little sister, we are so family-oriented," he said. "When they hurt we hurt, when their kids get a scratch, we get a scratch."

Several towns and organizations have set up relief funds for victims of the Illinois tornadoes.

Washington, Ill., establishes relief fund

Residents of Washington, Ill., which was devastated by tornadoes in 2013, are now giving back to Thursday's tornado victims. Washington resident Jewel Ward set up a YouCaring fundraising page to be distributed through the Kirkland Lion's Club.

"Now is our time to give back to a community that is experiencing extensive tornado damage to a small community that first gave to us, Fairdale, Illinois," she writes. "All of us remember what it was like in those first days of recovery and how important it is to get needed funds to those in need quickly."

FAIRDALE RELIEF FUND

Alpine Bank in Kirkland has established a relief fund for Fairdale. Donations can be made at the bank with checks made out to "Fairdale Relief Fund," through a GoFundMe page, or by mailing checks to the following address:

Fairdale Relief Fund
c/o Alpine Bank
P.O. Box 6086
Rockford, IL 61125-1086

ELGIN FIRE DEPARTMENT

The Elgin Fire Department is accepting donations to help the victims of the tornadoes in Fairdale and Rochelle.

Requested items include work gloves, flashlights, heavy-duty garbage bags, cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, first aid kits (in Ziploc bags if possible), pet food, ibuprofen (Advil or Aleve), hand sanitizer, toiletries, baby clothes, batteries (AA or D), baby formula, plastic silverware, non-perishable food items, playpens and gently used car seats.

They are no longer accepting donations of blankets, towels, wash cloths or water.

Donations can be dropped off between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at either Elgin Fire Station 1 at 550 Summit Street or Elgin Fire Station 2 at 650 Big Timber Road. Donations will be accepted through Tuesday, April 14.

ROCHELLE FOUNDATION

The city of Rochelle has been overwhelmed with physical donations of food, clothing and household items, a spokesperson said.

However, monetary donations for Rochelle victims can be made at rochellefoundation.org.

TWE Fairdale Relief Fund Assistance

TWE, a warehousing company, has set up to be a donation collection site for anyone who wants to donate goods to the families of Fairdale and surrounding communities. They will transport supplies brought to their Elk Grove Village location to relief effort coordinators in Fairdale.

Donations can be brought to:
1440 E. Devon Ave
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

Visit TWE's website for an up-to-date list of donation items needed.

RED CROSS

The American Red Cross is providing immediate relief to tornado victims in Fairdale. Officials are asking all other volunteers to stay out of the area for now.

To help the Red Cross with relief efforts, you can donate at RedCross.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
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