May 3, 2013

CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets Now Reaching Illinois

Over the past 10 days, Church World Service has shipped nearly 1,500 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets to Illinois for flood-affected households and expects to ship thousands more, thereby creating an urgent need for additional supplies.

The buckets shipped included 500 that were quickly distributed to people cleaning up after storms and floods by the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in Wheaton, Ill. An additional 992 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets are slated to arrive at the American Red Cross in Rolling Meadows Friday for distribution to area households on Saturday.

“With needs assessment ongoing, CWS expects to respond to additional requests from Illinois for Emergency Cleanup Buckets next week,” said Barry Shade, CWS associate director for Domestic Disaster Response.

Heavy precipitation from early 2013 storms and floods in Illinois has resulted in widespread and severe flooding.

The state has declared 48 counties as disaster areas. Flooding has occurred on numerous rivers and their tributaries, including the Mississippi, Illinois, Green, Spoon, Rock, DuPage and Sangamon rivers. One person drowned in Jersey County. Sandbagging and levee reinforcement and repair operations are ongoing throughout the state. Continued rainfall is anticipated and river levels are still at or near record levels.

There were numerous evacuations across the state. Most rivers in Illinois have reached their crest and now are receding, allowing people to finally return to their homes and begin to clean up.

A young couple in DuPage County was one of the families that received CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets. OHSEM’s David Gervino said the couple’s young child had just been diagnosed with an illness for which they had to purchase medical equipment costing about $10,000. They lost all the equipment in the recent flooding and now are upset because insurance isn't covering as much as they had hoped. According to Gervino, they took comfort from the gift of a CWS Emergency Cleanup Bucket, saying, "Thanks very much, we really need this."

Gervino said they are encountering quite a few people who lost so much in floods in 2010, have "just put things back together," and now are very frustrated to suffer flooding and loss again.

The need for CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets in Illinois is quickly outstripping CWS’s supply. Shade is urgently appealing for congregations and other community groups to assemble and send buckets. “The Ferncliff, Ark., warehouse is now empty of buckets, and the supply in the New Windsor, Md., is rapidly being depleted. We are in urgent need of replenishment,” he said.

Cathy McCann, who chairs the New Jersey Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster and who has received and distributed thousands of CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets following Superstorm Sandy, said, “It makes a tremendous amount of difference when you can give somebody a cleanup bucket, and when they know someone has put that together with love and concern. Just a simple thing like a bucket empowers them that they have some ability to start work after they’ve lost everything.”

CWS Emergency Cleanup Bucket contents and instructions: http://www.cwsglobal.org/get-involved/kits/emergency-clean-up-buckets.html

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be sent to your denomination/communion or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. (REF: EARLY 2013 STORMS, FLOODS and TORNADOES APPEAL {U.S.} # 627-X.). See CWS Appeal #627-X.

Donations to our emergency response efforts around the globe may also be made online.

CWS Emergency Response Specialist Susanne Gilmore, based in Manhattan, Kansas, is the point of contact for CWS assistance in Illinois. sgilmore@churchworldservice.org; 785-477-7823.