The Lord eventually led us to the Kirkland City Hall, just outside of Fairdale. They were forming a Long Term Recovery Steering Committee. We offered assistance for anything they needed. That was on a Friday. By Tuesday, they held their second meeting and we were asked to be part of the committee and help with the volunteer, cleanup and construction sub-committees.
Since then we've been meeting with homeowners, performing intakes to discuss needs, contacting volunteer groups, contacting local contractors and building supply companies, etc. We will be assessing homeowner needs, raising funds, scheduling volunteers, etc in an attempt to get folks home who would not otherwise be able to return to their homes.
There are over 80 homes that have been damaged and more than half are totally gone! Some folks do have insurance that will cover most of their needs, but our initial intakes lead us to believe that about half of them will need some major assistance. The federal government (FEMA) and the State of Illinois have not "closed the door" on helping, but have stated that the local community should be able to take care of itself. The county has no money for road repairs, let alone helping homeowners.
This has left a huge deficit for those wishing to rebuild this mostly poor railroad community that is over 100 years old! We will do all we can to help as many as we can as The Lord leads and we are able. At this point we have no exit date and since the county is wanting us to play such a huge part in the recovery process, it is likely that we will be here for a while.
We haven't found a permanent place to stay yet. We've been here for two weeks and had to move twice. We've been told there is a permanent place available to us soon, but the date keeps getting pushed back. Also this is farm country. There is no place to stay in Fairdale and we are currently staying 45 minutes away. This results is a lot of fuel/vehicle expenses and since we only have one vehicle, makes for long days for both of us and we're serving Monday-Saturday sometimes into the evenings!
Obviously all of this takes a major amount of prayer and financing. Please continue to keep those affected by the storm in your prayers as well as all of the financial needs and for continued guidance from The Lord for me and Mary Jo.
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