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College Student Organizes Collection For Joplin Tornado Survivors

Massive damage in Jordan Aubey's neighborhood in Joplin. (Credit: Eryn Fenske)

Massive damage in Jordan Aubey’s neighborhood in Joplin. (Credit: Eryn Fenske)

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TINLEY PARK, Ill. (WBBM) – A young man with a plan will be headed Wednesday with two truckloads of goods for those in need in Joplin, Mo., which has been devastated by tornadoes.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, donations are still being accepted in Tinley Park for items that could be used by the tornado survivors.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Bernie Tafoya reports

The relief effort is spearheaded by Alec Bettenhausen, a 21-year old senior at Illinois State University and son of car dealer. Bettenhausen majors in organizational leadership.

His father owns Bettenhausen Dodge in Tinley Park.

“We got bottled water, we’ve got nonperishable food items – granola bars, graham crackers, canned vegetables, canned fruit, and other canned soups,” Bettenhausen said.

He also has donations of dog food and lots of baby items, from diapers and formula to baby wipes and bottles.

He started getting out the word for his relief campaign on Facebook and Twitter and the word spread quickly.

He says he thought he’d only have enough donations for one truckload, but he says there’s about 1 1/2 truckloads now. He expects both trucks to be full by 8 a.m. Wednesday when he and another young man drive to Joplin with the goods.

Tom Lebensorger is among those who have donated. He brought towels and comforters, as well as canned goods and apple juice. He calls the campaign, “a great thing”.

Bettenhausen been in contact with a large food pantry near Joplin, the Ozark Food Harvest, that’ll be able to distribute the goods once the donations are driven the 575 miles.

Items are being collected at the Bettenhausen car dealerships on 175th and Oak Park Avenue in Tinley Park, as well as at 159th and 94th Avenue in Orland Park.