International group helping tornado victims

Feb 20, 2014

An international organization is teaming up with local non-profits to provide starter kits for families who lost everything in the November 17th tornadoes. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul as well as the local Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Jewish Federation raised enough funds to help up to 200 families.

40 Tazewell County residents who were either under-insured or un-insured will receive new beds, sofas, dining tables and chairs as well as pots and pans and glassware this week. Karla Riter lost her duplex home in Washington, plus all of her home furnishings in the tornado. She says the so-called “House in a Box” program will help her get a fresh start:

“It’s huge. It’s huge. It’s a wonderful help. It’s a feeling of having something of my own again. I stayed at the Red Cross shelter for a couple of days. I stayed with my sister for a month. Then insurance got me into a place, but it was with other people’s belongings. This is a good step forward. It’s a day of hope.”

Riter is currently living in a duplex in Eureka, but plans to rebuild in Washington. Tornado survivors interested in being considered for the “House in a Box” program should call the Society of St. Vincent de Paul or the American Red Cross in Peoria. Money unused in the area will help residents in other Illinois counties that were damaged in the November tornadoes.