Central Illinoisans send aid and resources for Hurricane Laura aftermath

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Category 4 Hurricane Laura made landfall Thursday morning, with 150 mile an hour winds.

Just hours later, people in Central Illinois are preparing to help in the aftermath.

“I’m leaving in the morning to go to Louisiana to do damage assessment,” said Andrea Toliver, a volunteer with the Red Cross and AmeriCorps.

“There’s going to be a little bit of all kinds of damage, there’s going to be flood damage, there’s going to be wind damage, there’s going to be tornado damage, so you’re gonna see a little bit of everything out there,” said Toliver.

She said she’s been out in the field more than 20 times, but each time is different.

“There’s a lot of butterflies when you first leave, but there’s also excitement knowing that you’re going to help people,” said Toliver.

Toliver’s goal is to build people up when their lives have been torn apart.

“It gives me a great sense of purpose should I say to help others, it’s like you’re paying it forward or something,” said Toliver.

In Peoria, volunteers packed food Thursday afternoon at the Midwest Food Bank. The boxes are on standby, and resources will be distributed as needed.

“Those bags will then go into disaster relief boxes,” said Monica Scheuer, executive director for Midwest Food Bank Peoria. “We’re literally just waiting on the Salvation Army to let us know when, where, and how much.”

In the meantime, preparations will continue.

“We are always amazed how the community always steps up and comes full force and wants to help. It is so generous,” said Scheuer.

For people looking to help with hurricane relief, a monetary donation can be made to the Red Cross. The Midwest Food Bank is also looking for cards and words of encouragement to include in the disaster relief boxes.

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