Tornado Recovery Efforts Continue in Gifford
TODAY/TONIGHT: Recovery operations continue in Gifford.
Beginning today, resource operations will be consolidated at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at Church & Main in Gifford. Volunteers should report to the church to be checked in. Toiletries, personal items and some food will be distributed from the church by the Salvation Army. The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and Presence Covenant Medical Center will also be at the church in the event that tetanus shots are needed.
Volunteers should enter the town from the south to be on the same side as the church and two adjacent parking areas. Additional parking is available at Gifford Grade School nearby. Volunteers are asked to park and walk in.
Gifford Grade School will reopen on Monday.
NICOR gas customers who feel their homes are safe for service restoration should call the NICOR service number.
Nearly all AMEREN customers whose property is safe have had power restored. More than 150 poles have been replaced. If residents have an intact home and do not have power they should call AMEREN at 1-800-755-5000.
RELIEF FUND DONATIONS: Money is the most-needed item for tornado relief. The Champaign Country Sheriff’s Department is warning to be watchful for scammers. Avoid donations door-to-door and donate directly to United Way, Red Cross, or Gifford State Bank:
– Gifford State Bank has started the Gifford Tornado Relief Fund. Donations can be made at any Gifford State Bank branch, or mail a check to Gifford State Bank, Box 400, Gifford, IL 61847. Specify Gifford Tornado Relief Fund with your donation.
– The United Way of Champaign County has created the Gifford Area Relief Fund. 100% of donations will be used to support local nonprofits providing disaster relief (these include the American Red Cross, the Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County, and the Salvation Army).
– Online donations can be made to: www.uwayhelps.org/Gifford – please note Gifford in the notes box.
– Thursday, we will be collecting cash and check donations for United Way’s Gifford Area Relief Fund at Carmike 13 (N Prospect) and Farm & Fleet (N. Cunningham) between noon and 6pm.
WATER: Donations of bottled water are needed and will be accepted from at United Way of Champaign County – 404 W Church St, Champaign: 8:30am-5:00pm M-F. United Way, in partnership with This is It Furniture and local businesses, will transport the water to Gifford.
VOLUNTEERS: Potential volunteers can call United Way at 217-352-5151 and United Way will keep a list for the American Red Cross. Please note that due to the developing nature of the situation, not all volunteers may be called immediately to assist.
RED CROSS: Want to help or have a question about helping? Contact the Red Cross at (217) 351-5861.
There were three confirmed tornado touchdowns in Champaign County; the worst was in Gifford where an EF3 tornado destroyed at least 20 homes and heavily damaged at least 20 more, a total of 200 homes damaged. Governor Quinn has declared seven IL counties disaster areas, including Champaign County.
Andy Wycislo is a storm chaser who lives in Savoy, IL and followed the storm from Cisco, IL. He was a few minutes behind the tornado Sunday and recorded this video footage: