MORRIS, Ill. (WTVO) — It will take weeks, and a lot of volunteers, to get communities impacted by Friday’s storms back on track, and people from across Illinois have answered the call to help.
Red Cross volunteers are already responding to several counties in Southern Illinois that were hit, and the list of volunteers is now growing as they prepare to send people to help in Kentucky.
“Can you imagine if this was your family? If this was your house that was flattened by a tornado,” said Holly Baker, Communications Manager for The American Red Cross of Illinois.
Tornadoes left homes in shambles and people with nowhere to go, prompting an emergency response from the Illinois Red Cross.
“To see something as severe as these tornados, this is why we have all these volunteers on call, at the ready, trained up, ready to respond,” Baker said.
Red Cross volunteers are working on damage assessments, setting up shelters and providing resources to people in need. Despite the holidays approaching, the organization is dedicated to helping, according to Baker.
“Disasters happen at inconvenient times, so that’s why the red cross is there, to help people prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters big and small,” Baker said.
Baker is now going to Kentucky to help volunteers there.
“If I have to leave my family for a few days to go help a family be reunited with theirs, I will do that,” Baker said.
However, seeing disasters happen so close to Christmas will never get easy, Baker said.
“It’s defiantly a really heavy feeling, but that’s why we really make sure to make our shelters the most welcoming place that they can be,” Baker said. “Everyone is welcome at a Red Cross shelter.”
According to Baker, images of the aftermath showed the devastation that severe weather can cause.
“We can see the images coming out of the effected areas are really powerful, and I don’t see how anybody who see’s that wouldn’t want to help in someway,” Baker said.
Baker said that volunteers will stay in both Illinois and Kentucky for as long as they are needed. Those interested in volunteering can visit the Red Cross’ website.