An udate.

We have been posted to Washington, IL for full-time tornado recovery efforts. We will be at the donation center located at Countryside Banquet facility (659 School St.). We are asking that those who want to sign up to help go through the Washington Chamber of Commerce. Thanks!

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More on Keepsacks.

Keepsacks

As Becca said in yesterday’s post, our annual Keepsacks for Kids project is coming up quickly.  Now that we’ve started some of our new members (and brought back a few of our old ones) we’re gearing up for this awesome event. Since Becca explained the project already, I’ll just add our request for donations and help with hygiene kits.

Ideally, our hygiene kits will be specialized by age and sex. Our wish list for each hygiene kit includes shampoo/conditioner, liquid body wash, razors and shaving cream for adults, deodorant, hair brush/comb, lotion, face/body wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, wash cloth or hand towel, bandages, antibiotic ointment, cotton balls, tissues, pads and tampons for adult women, and hand sanitizer. Since donations and money are scarce, we know that we should have realistic expectations.  Our most-needed items are listed in the graphic above, but we’ll happily accept any donations that come our way.  We ask that items be unopened or unused, especially if they are hotel-sized travel items.  Things that are individually packaged are best, but items in bulk that can’t be separated are always useful for large families or agencies that cater to many people.

 

We’d love for you to be a part in our Keepsacks for Kids project. On behalf of the hundreds of people who will receive a warm blanket and a hygiene kit this winter, THANK YOU!

Keepsacks for Kids

Now that we are into October, Keepsacks is growing closer and closer.  There are donations arriving, hygiene items being inventoried, and blankets being sorted.  In just a couple short weeks, there will be many volunteers gathered in the East Peoria High School cafeteria finishing blankets and putting together hundreds of hygiene kits.  There will be breakfast, lunch, and a raffle for volunteers, along with a sense of pride in a day of volunteering. 

What is Keepsacks?

Keepsacks is an annual event where AmeriCorps members and volunteers from the community get together and make hundreds of fleece blankets and hygiene kits to deliver to shelters in the Peoria Area.  From there,  these blankets and kits are given to families, children, teens, and adults to give them something that’s not only their own, but something to give them comfort.  Times are tough right now, especially with the government shut down and more people without pay.  Food is going to be harder to put on the table, some heat will be shut off for those who need help the most, and these people will be turning to anyone for help.  That’s where we step in.  For months we have been getting things together for this and on October 19 we will donate all of these items to those who need it the most.

If you are in the Peoria Area, we ask you to join us from anytime starting after 8:30.  Pick up for the shelters begins at 3:30 and we will need help then also.  There will be breakfast, lunch, and drinks for volunteers and a raffle for prizes as a thank you.  Or if you would like to donate items, there is still time to donate any of the hygiene supplies or fleece for blankets.  Feel free to email americorps@chail.org for more information. 

 

Back to School, Back to School…

Many of our AmeriCorps members are currently students in college.  We have a few just beginning, a few half way done, and a few who are nearing the end.  Never the less, they’ve all gone back to the classroom, carrying books, listening to lectures, and doing homework.  Not only are they doing that, but they are beginning a new term here at AmeriCorps.  Soon enough the office will be back in full swing of things!  There will be members in and out of the office, up and down the stairs, and constantly on the phone setting up things for our team to do.  Lucky for all of you, that means it’s time for you to get involved with us.

We have many projects that are already looming closer and we’ll need plenty of help.  This Saturday there is a Special Olympics Bowling outing that always needs volunteers and there will be another one on October 12!  Also approaching very quickly is the United Way Day of Caring.  There are many things that you can do and you can look on line to see what your community is doing and how you can get involved.  Our AmeriCorps team will be at the Civic Center boxing up canned goods.  Which we will also be collecting until the 5th of September which is soon!  So if you are in the Peoria area, feel free to bring by canned goods to any of the Children’s Home locations!  In a couple of months, one of our biggest projects happens.  On October 19 we will all gather together in honor of the annual Keepsacks for Kids project and sort and make hundreds of blankets and hygiene kits to be sent out to all of the local shelters to help those in need.    The average age of a homeless person in Illinois is 9 years old!  Isn’t that heart breaking?  So when you’re all snuggled up in your warm bed in your home with a full stomach, think about those children who need your help and ask what you can do for them.  We would love donations of any kind, including fleece for blankets or any type of hygiene kits such as full size shampoo and body wash, tooth brushes, tooth paste, combs, brushes, tissues, etc etc.

The school season is the busiest time of the year but don’t forget that you can still help!

Our fearless leader Julie's son and a past member's nephew helping at Keepsacks for Kids!

Our fearless leader Julie’s son and a past member’s nephew helping at Keepsacks for Kids!

A quick note.

PeoriaCorps members and volunteers have signed up to help the American Red Cross Central Illinois disaster relief efforts. We’ll be in and around Peoria and the surrounding areas helping with emergency supplies, shelters, food, cleanup, transport, and anything else the Red Cross volunteers need.

american red cross

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Downtown Peoria Riverfront

Downtown Peoria Riverfront

Although the temperatures will be reaching 83 today, which is just hot enough to make me happy, there is rain the forecast.  I hate to tell ya, but it’s the truth.  Even though we haven’t had rain for a few days, the water has only receeded a small amount.  Roads are still closed, houses are still evacuated, and people still need help.  Today, the AmeriCorps team will be going through a Red Cross training to help with disaster relief.  Hope packages will be distributed soon to families who may be back in their homes but still need assistance due to water damage.  If you would like to help volunteer, you can contact the local Red Cross chapter at 677-7272 or email AmeriCorps at Americorps@chail.org

Flooding in the Midwest

Flooding in Peoria

Flooding in Peoria

List of flood-related road closings.

Find an emergency shelter.

Resources:

Anyone who needs Red Cross shelter assistance and those interested in volunteering on this relief effort should call their local chapter office at the number below.

Tips for dealing with floods:

When a Flood is Imminent

  • Be prepared! Pack a bag with important items in case you need to evacuate. Don’t forget to include needed medications.
  • If advised to evacuate your home, do so immediately.
  • If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground.
  • If possible, bring in outdoor furniture and move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances.

During a Flood

  • Do not walk through moving water. As little as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of moving water can make you fall.
  • If you have to walk in water, wherever possible, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

After a Flood

  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Avoid moving water.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.

Source: U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency

Stay safe, everyone!