In the early morning hours of April 18, 2013, thousands of families across the city of Chicago and the suburbs awoke to find their neighborhoods and homes flooded. Massive storms had dumped between 5 and 10 inches of rain overnight, causing rivers and streams to overflow their banks and wreak havoc.
The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services Department leapt into service, immediately opening up an emergency shelter and dispatching six canteens to provide food and drinks to evacuees and emergency responders throughout the greater Chicagoland area. Army staff and volunteers in Aurora and Algonquin rolled up their sleeves and tossed sandbags alongside their neighbors.
In the days that followed, as the waters receded and victims assesed the damages, Salvation Army staff and volunteers distributed more than 4,000 flood clean-up kits to residents in need, in some cases going door-to-door.
All told, throughout the recovery efforts, The Salvation Army provided 1,435 meals, 1,952 snacks and 2,483 beverages to victims, utility workers and other first responders.
Awilda Gonzalez and her family found themselves temporarily homeless after more than 6 feet of water entered their River Grove apartment. They spent nearly three weeks in a hotel, spending the last of their savings. Awilda was referred to The Salvation Army, and was provided with food, rent assistance and furniture to replace what she had lost. “I am so grateful for the help I received,” Awilda said. “I couldn’t go to my family for help. I don’t know what I would have done without The Salvation Army.”
The Army trains volunteers to help make a difference during times of disaster. Visit www.salarmychicago.org/volunteer to become a disaster relief volunteer.