When tornadoes tore through Tazewell county and other communities around Illinois, several thousand families suffered property damage, with many losing everything.
To aid in responding to this need, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is launching their “House in a Box” program on February 20. This national program has supported families after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the Texas wildfires, the Oklahoma tornadoes, the Colorado floods, and the West TX plant explosion.
New household furnishings are purchased for families without insurance and for whom it will be difficult to replace everything they lost. The program includes beds, dressers, sofa, dining table & chairs, pots & pans, dishes, glassware, silverware, bedding, towels, and more.
Tom Pelger, the Society’s Council President for the 26 counties in central Illinois served by Peoria Diocese, said, “We’ve been working with the Long Term Recovery Committee since the tornadoes, providing immediate assistance along with Red Cross, Salvation Army, and others. Disaster case managers are reaching out to families to see how they’re progressing in their recovery. The ‘House in a Box’ provides a new start for the most vulnerable families who’ve lost everything. It gives them hope for the future. It’s a great step in their road to recovery.”
The program is sponsored by the Peoria Council of Society of St. Vincent de Paul, with partner funding from the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and the Jewish Federation. Catholic Charities has made their SHARE warehouse available as the distribution center. Tempur-Pedic North America, LLC donated mattresses used in the program. Several area organizations are supplying volunteers to help in the distribution.
Anne Fox, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter said: "The Red Cross is so grateful that the community’s generosity allows us to provide funding for the House in a Box program and join with our community partners to give a new start to those who lost their home in the tornado.”
“We are very pleased to partner with the Society of St. Vincent DePaul and others on this project,” said Captain Katherine Clausell, Social Services Director for The Salvation Army. “Working together, we can help those in the most need.”
Tom Pelger said, “The breadth of participation in this program is a great example of how our community has pulled together to support the tornado survivors.”
Survivors who are interested in being considered for the ‘House in a Box’ program should call the Society of St Vincent de Paul at (309) 677-7696, or the American Red Cross at (309) 677-7272.