Red Cross Provides Vital Relief to Wrecked Midwestern Communities

Illinois State Representative Mike Unes and American Red Cross volunteer Chris Ardery comfort Bobbie Berryman in front of her home in Illinois.

Illinois State Representative Mike Unes and American Red Cross volunteer Chris Ardery comfort Bobbie Berryman in front of her home in Illinois. Photo Credit: Robert W. Wallace/American Red Cross

Before crews came to complete the demolition, Berryman sifted through the remains to save as many possessions as possible.

Nearly a week after tornadoes brought destruction to several Midwestern states, the Red Cross continues to provide meals, relief supplies and shelter for those in need. More than 20 Red Cross emergency vehicles are circulating through affected communities, delivering help such as food and supplies.

In Illinois and Indiana, more than 500 Red Cross workers have served more than 32,000 meals and snacks, handed out more than 1,600 relief items and provided more than 700 health and mental health services.

RECOVERY PLANNING In East Peoria, Ill., Bobbie Berryman’s home was destroyed by the tornado. Before crews came to complete the demolition, Berryman sifted through the remains to save as many possessions as possible.

Trained Red Cross caseworkers are meeting one-on-one with people, like Berryman, 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.

In the days ahead, Red Cross workers will be joining with several partner agencies to set up multi-agency resource centers where residents can connect with a range of services offered by community organizations. Red Cross disaster mental health workers are also available to help people cope, and health workers are helping people replace things like lost medications and eyeglasses.

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:

  • Wear appropriate clothing, including long pants, long-sleeved shirts, sturdy shoes and gloves when examining damage or cleaning up debris.
  • Watch pets closely and be aware of hazards at nose, paw and hoof levels, particularly debris, spilled chemicals, fertilizers and other substances that might not seem to be dangerous to humans.
  • Avoid using generators indoors – this includes inside a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, or other enclosed or partially enclosed area, even with ventilation. If people start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away - do not delay.
  • Download the free American Red Cross First Aid App for instant access to expert advice whenever and wherever you need it.
  • 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 www.redcross.org, 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 redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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