Yesterday morning a line of horrific storms, accompanied by a number of tornadoes, terrorized the Midwest. One of these tornadoes passed through Washington, Illinois, where my little sister, Sara, lives with her husband, Jeff, and their two children; unfortunately for them, their home fell directly in the path of the tornado. Thankfully, Sara, Jeff, Lily, and Carter survived…not everyone in their city did. But when they climbed the stairs from their basement into their living room, they discovered that when the storm blew out of town, it took with it their entire house, their cars, and all of their belongings.
|The tornado as it approached their neighborhood.|
(They didn't take this photo - they were
safely tucked away in their basement.)
|Their first car, which came to rest in their backyard.|
|Their second car, which came to rest in a neighbor's backyard.|
|Their house, or what's left of it.|
And here's what needs to be done.
First, if you're able to do so, please consider making a financial contribution to support Sara, Jeff, Lily, and Carter as they attempt to rebuild their lives. I would also greatly appreciate it if you would share this link with people who might be interested in donating but do not have access to the link (http://ekenafamily.wix.com/donations) via this blog or Facebook.
In the name of transparency, you should know that the donations will come to me first through my PayPal account. Once a week I will transfer the money collected - every single penny of every single donation - to Sara and Jeff.
Second, I will be collecting in-kind (physical) donations for Sara, Jeff, Lily, and Carter as well. The list below is where I'm starting today, but this list will certainly evolve in the coming days and weeks - both as items are donated and as Sara and Jeff get a better feel for what they need - and I will post updates frequently. (Please do not feel as though you need to go out and purchase these items new; instead, pass along gently-used items that members of your family have outgrown or no longer use.)
Size 3 diapers Baby wipes Powder soy (dairy-free) baby formula Bottles Baby bowls, plates, and spoons Baby blankets Size 12-18 month little boy clothes, pajamas, and socks Size 12-18 month little boy winter coat, hat, and mittens Size 2T/3T little girl clothes, pajamas, underwear, and socks Size 2T/3T little girl winter coat, snow pants, hat, and mittens Size 7 little girl toddler shoes, indoor boots, and outdoor boots Children's books Small portable DVD player (I thought this might help keep Lily entertained while her baby brother is napping and her parents are on the phone with insurance companies, banks, etc.) Children's DVDs Adult and child toiletries
A third option is to donate gift cards to stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, etc. so that Sara and Jeff can purchase what they need, when they need it most. If you would like to donate a gift card, please email me at email@example.com so that we can coordinate how to best get these resources to Sara and Jeff.
THANK YOU. For the monetary and in-kind donations, the phone calls, the texts, the email and Facebook messages, the sincere offers to help in any way. I am so tremendously humbled by the outpouring of support we have received on Sara and Jeff's behalf.
I plan to provide daily updates here on the blog, so please check back tomorrow for more information on the Ekena family.