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Red Cross Response to Historic Flooding, Greater Chicago Region

cleanup distribution
More than 350 workers assisted in relief efforts in the Chicago region to open 10 shelters and 50 clean-up kit distribution sites.

The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago launched the largest disaster response to flooding in Illinois in years.

Relief teams worked around the clock to provide shelter for displaced families, serve thousands of meals to those who were hungry and distributed truckloads of supplies to help people clean up their homes.

More than 350 workers assisted in relief efforts in the Chicago region to open 10 shelters and 50 clean-up kit distribution sites. Volunteers and staff provided more than 31,000 meals and snacks and distributed some 60,000 relief items like buckets, sponges, rakes and shovels through our fleet of Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) all the way from Grundy County, Illinois to Lake County, Indiana.

Red Cross health and mental health specialists touched nearly 1,400 people in the Chicago area who needed a prescription filled or who just wanted someone to talk to for help coping with the stress of flooding in their home.

People wanting to know where they could pick up a clean-up kit to find an open shelter for the night were able to dial the Red Cross Call Center that was opened during the height of the floods. Residents can contact their local municipality for more information on clean-up programs in their county.

Video of our mobile clean-up distribution effort is available. Photos are also posted in our photo gallery.

Taking steps to prepare yourself and your family for future emergencies can help bring peace of mind. Actions such as downloading the Red Cross first aid app, registering for a first aid class or building a disaster supply kit can help you feel empowered to face future emergencies.

  • Register for a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED course at so that you can be better prepared to help in future emergencies. To make getting trained even easier people can now take our Family First Aid and CPR class online by visiting
  • Download the free Red Cross First Aid App that puts free and simple lifesaving information in the hands of smart phone and tablet users. The app is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
  • Over the past 10 years, the Red Cross has launched 127 large relief operations to help people affected by floods in 38 states. We’ve learned that floods can be especially long and costly relief operations as communities wait for floodwaters to recede before they can begin cleaning up their homes and neighborhoods.

    To support our disaster efforts, please make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief at or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.