"The local response and the response from outside has been phenomenal. People have been awesome. Within an hour, people who lived downwind of the tornado were taking pictures of personal items they found flying into town and organizing themselves into photo groups online so people could identify their pictures, yearbooks, trophies, things like that. The high school football team is in the playoffs and their opponents are funding a bunch of charter buses (so families without cars can make it to the game), providing overnight housing, and donating all the meals for the team for the playoff game this weekend.
The local telethon raised $896,000, which the Red Cross says may be a record for a local telethon.
If you'd like to donate to local groups, there is a relief fund organized by a local bank and you can phone in a credit card payment, info here: http://ci.washington.il.us/index_2.htm Specific organizations you may like include Tazewell County Animal Control http://www.tazewell.com/AnimalControl/AnimalControl.html and TAPS, a no-kill shelter, http://www.tapsshelter.org/, who have both done amazing work treating injured pets and reuniting pets with owners.
But I think the most important things you can do are donate to the Red Cross generally and support government programs like the National Weather Service, which gave us two days notice that tornadoes were likely and very timely and effective alerts during the tornadoes, which is why loss of life was so low, and FEMA, which is here coordinating the long-term recovery efforts. And get involved in emergency preparedness in your own town -- educating yourself and others, learning first aid and CPR, volunteering with local response teams. Because this disaster was kept from being so much worse because local people were prepared and knew what to do, and local responders were on the scene before the wind stopped blowing.
I am sure as Christmas gets closer there will be some sort of giving tree for children who were displaced from their homes, I'll let you all know when I hear something.
"Threads, Hope & Love NFP is a Washington, IL based not for profit organization serving those in need or in crisis in the Washington area with clothing, necessities, and a special Christmas toy distribution event. ... The Junior League of Peoria has partnered with Threads, Hope & Love to help ensure a successful 2013 annual Christmas toy giveaway in the wake of the storm."
Amazon Wish List
Toys R Us Wish List (Wish List #33867068)
Target Wish List
Duration 15 seconds
Magnitude 6.9 Mw
Casualties 63 killed, 3,757 injured
Tornado Rating: F5 tornado
Duration1: ~30 minutes
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