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Volunteers Deliver Hot Meals and Relief Supplies in Midwest

Service Delivery

Red Cross volunteers Joyce Wilson (left) and Judy Tumbleson (right) load their Red Cross emergency relief vehicle with cases of water in preparation for distribution of an evening meal.

The people are so grateful for the meals we’ve provided. Many say give it to someone who really needs it, and this after their home has been totally destroyed.

Days after devastating tornadoes touched down across several Midwestern states, American Red Cross volunteers continue to deliver help and hope as residents begin to pick up the pieces.

DELIVERING RELIEF The Red Cross is working around the clock to provide food, shelter and relief supplies to all affected by these storms with emergency vehicles traveling through the affected communities, distributing meals and relief supplies. The Red Cross has already served more than 14,000 meals and snacks and handed out nearly 1,000 relief items in Illinois alone, as of Tuesday evening.

Red Cross volunteers Joyce Wilson and Judy Tumbleson deployed Sunday afternoon just after the storms ravaged the city of Peoria, Illinois.

“I see the devastation on TV, and I just want to help,” said Wilson. “Through the Red Cross I can.”

On Monday, the two women canvassed the tornado-devastated neighborhoods of Pekin, Illinois, part of the greater Peoria metropolitan area. Wilson and Tumbleson handed out nearly 100 meals, mostly to people who were searching through the debris of their destroyed homes for salvageable items.

Neither Wilson and Tumbleson are new to disaster, responding to many emergencies as Red Cross volunteers.

“The people are so grateful for the meals we’ve provided. Many say give it to someone who really needs it, and this after their home has been totally destroyed,” said Tumbleson.

ONGOING EFFORTS In addition to food and supplies, Tuesday night, nearly 100 people stayed in 19 Red Cross shelters in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois as many people are still without power. Red Cross disaster mental health workers are also available to help people cope with the aftermath and health workers can help people replace things like lost medications and eyeglasses.

The Red Cross is coordinating closely with government and community partners to support recovery efforts. Volunteers are also helping to connect people with local community resources and social service programs, fill out paperwork for assistance or insurance claims, provide counseling or help to identify child care resources.

Red Cross workers will be on the ground for weeks to come helping people get back on their feet. In the days ahead, trained Red Cross caseworkers will be meeting one-on-one with people who need extra help with unmet emergency needs and creating recovery plans. Red Cross assistance for people whose homes were destroyed or suffered major damage could include support for housing, replacing household items and clothing, and food costs.

SAFETY INFORMATION The Red Cross reminds affected residents to return to their neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so. They should also:

  • Stay out of damaged buildings. Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and sturdy shoes.
  • Avoid fallen power lines or broken gas lines - immediately report them to the utility companies.
  • If someone smells gas or hears a hissing noise, they should open a window, get everyone out of the building immediately and call the gas company or fire department.
  • Use flashlights, not candles when examining buildings.
  • HOW TO HELP People affected by severe weather and other disasters need help now. You can help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. You can donate by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.