WASHINGTON – Governor Pat Quinn, Congressman Aaron Schock, Washington Mayor Gary Manier and Chicago Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough joined today to host a Thanksgiving Luncheon for victims of the recent tornadoes and their families. The luncheon - sponsored by the Chicago Blackhawks Charities - was also a way to thank first-responders and volunteers who have worked around the clock since the severe storms touched down on Nov. 17. Last night, President Barack Obama approved the Governor’s expedited request for federal assistance to help people and businesses in Washington and across 15 Illinois counties recover from the deadly tornadoes.
“Since the devastating tornadoes hit Illinois, I have been inspired by the outpouring of support from people, businesses and communities in all corners of Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for organizations like the Chicago Blackhawks that stand ready to help our neighbors in Washington recover.”
“While we continue to work through the devastation in Washington, I am reminded hourly of the support that we have received from people all over the state,” Mayor Manier said. “I thank the Chicago Blackhawks Charities for giving our residents the gift of a warm Thanksgiving meal. Perhaps most importantly, I give thanks for all the volunteers, professionals and elected officials who came together on day one and have stayed to help Central Illinois pick up the pieces after the storm. The residents of Washington remain strong as we move into the days and weeks of recovery, rebuilding and renewal."
Chicago Blackhawks Charities recently donated $200,000 to the ‘Washington Tornado Relief Fund,’ which will directly assist people in one of Illinois’ hardest hit communities as they rebuild their lives. In Washington alone, at least 1,277 homes were damaged, including 586 that were destroyed.
Late yesterday, President Obama approved the Governor’s request for federal assistance to help people and businesses in 15 Illinois counties recover from at least 24 tornadoes that were reported on Nov. 17. The request detailed the severe impact the storms had on communities across the state, including damage to at least 2,441 homes, almost 1,000 of which that are uninhabitable.
The approval came just one day after Governor Quinn submitted his request for Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, LaSalle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Vermilion, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will and Woodford counties.
Anyone impacted by the Nov. 17 tornadoes should register for grants and low-interest loans they may be eligible to receive. Impacted residents should call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY: 1-800-462-7585) or visit disasterassistance.gov.
"Thanksgiving is the perfect time to remind all of us about what is truly important- life, health, family and friends,” Congressman Schock said. “Many in our area have lost nearly all of their material possessions, and as we work to replace them as best we can, this luncheon will hopefully remind us all of what is truly important and thank God for the blessings we still enjoy despite this terrible disaster."
In addition to the Blackhawks, a number of top Illinois companies and their foundations have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars, equipment, volunteers, food, winter coats and clothing, tools, bottled water, personal care and cleaning products, professional services, batteries and charging stations to aid the tornado recovery. Those include Wal-Mart, Caterpillar, Baxter International, Mariano’s, Archer Daniels Midland, Sears Holding Corp., The Caterpillar Foundation, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois, ComEd, Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Matthew 25: Ministries, Duracell, American Institute of Architects, Sprint, CVS-Caremark, Kroger, State Farm, McDonald's, Eby-Brown Company, Home Depot, Banterra Bank, Exxon, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Komatsu via Roland Machinery and numerous local labor unions.
Under the Governor’s direction, the state continues to support recovery efforts in several communities hard hit by the tornadoes. The State Incident Response Center in Springfield is activated to coordinate deployment of state assets and personnel in response to requests from affected areas.
The Governor is committed to helping communities across Illinois recover following the deadly storms. The Red Cross and Salvation Army have also set up ways to accept donations, including:
- Red Cross: Text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.
- Salvation Army: Text STORM to 80888 and reply YES to confirm your donation. A one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance.
For more information about disaster recovery resources, including shelters and ways to help tornado survivors, visit ready.illinois.gov.