CHICAGO (CBS) — As flooding from Hurricane Harvey begins to recede in the Houston area, people in the Chicago area have been stepping up to send help; from food to bottled water to simple words of encouragement.
Cities and villages such as Joliet, Orland Park, and Broadview have been collecting packaged foods, drinks, water, baby supplies, pet supplies, and more.
In south suburban Richton Park, students at Southland College Prep Charter High School have donated 15,000 bottles of water, along with handwritten notes of encouragement for storm victims.
“Students are going to hand write out these notes that we are aware of the situation. We’re sensitive to the situation. We support you,” school counselor Ron Anderson said. “Sometimes just a word could be uplifting.”
Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said donations of packaged non-perishable food and cleaning supplies were being accepted outside Joliet City Hall from Thursday through Sept. 8. Cadence Logistics will then drive a tractor trailer truck filled with donations to hurricane victims in Texas.
“We’ve been in contact with the Red Cross here locally, and then Red Cross chapters in Texas. So they gave us a list of items that they need,” O’Dekirk said.
On the city’s website, Joliet officials said they are accepting donations of pre-packaged water, juice, diapers, and canned vegetables; as well as work gloves, box fans, construction-grade trash bags, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, tampons, and other toiletries. They are not taking clothes, toys, or furniture.
O’Dekirk said Joliet has a long history of helping those in need after a natural disaster.
“We’ve seen this before. When there was the tornado in Coal City a couple years ago, our residents really stepped up and we had city workers down there helping,” he said.
Meantime, Orland Park village manager Joe LaMargo said there are three collection sites in Orland. They will be accepting unopened baby food, toiletries, blankets, diapers, formula, batteries, flashlights, first aid supplies, pet food, leashes, bowls, and packaged single-serve food items.
The city of Harvey is gathering donations of bottled water at Sibley Boulevard and Dixie Highway, and will ship it to Texas on Monday. Harvey officials also are offering to house up to 10 displaced Houston area families.
The Broadview Fire Department also is collecting donations of supplies to fill big rigs that will haul the goods to Texas. Piles of supplies filled the Broadview Fire Department on Thursday; bottled water, juice, sports drinks, pre-packaged food, blankets, diapers, dog food, paper products, and more donated by area residents and businesses.
There was enough bottled water to fill an entire moving van.
Broadview Mayor Sherman Jones called Fire Chief Tracy Kenny after the storm, wanting to do something to help. A simple post on the fire department’s Facebook page was all it took for a torrent of donations to start pouring in.
“It’s overwhelming. I thought maybe we’d have a couple people in town dropping off water, and I could fit in a van, and be okay. I had no idea I would need three truck fulls; three semi-truck fulls,” Kenny said.
The trucks from Broadview will head to Texas on Thursday and Friday, packed with donations coming from many surrounding suburbs and fire departments. Donations can be dropped off through 10 a.m. Friday.