Helping hands flood into Central IL

By Anna Yee

April 23, 2013 Updated Apr 23, 2013 at 7:01 PM CDT

EAST CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- We're getting a taste of what life's now like in a neighborhood along the river in Central Illinois.

It's hard to tell where the river ends and the backyards begin.

Some houses aren't that badly damaged, but others are deeply submerged, and those residents are still having a hard time.

Scott Stear has to use a boat to get in and out of his East Peoria mobile home.

"People's houses, they're completely, the floors are under water," said Stear. "They're stuck in their houses they can't get out."

His mother, Alice Roy, also lives in the trailer park and says this is the worst flood she has ever seen here.

"I can't go out to the store or anything right now," said Roy. "I haven't been able to get out for probably about 3 days now."

Luckily, the American Red Cross is providing sandwiches and hot meals.

"This is a real relief," said Stear. "People coming down and helping out the people who really need it right now."

About 150 volunteers traveled from across the Midwest to the Peoria Chapter to pitch in, like Ted Barlag, who came from Missouri.

"They always say that the greatest gift is to be able to volunteer," said Barlag, "and I believe that."

A group of Methodist College students also wanted to lend a hand.

"It's really sad to see that people are living like this, and people are staying in their homes," said Kortney Wilson, a Methodist College senior. "Some are trapped, and some really need food, and I think it's great that the Red Cross is coming out and really helping them."

The Red Cross will continue to help families in need, which seems to contribute to the overall mood remaining fairly calm here.

Residents say they've been working together, and there's still a sense of hope, as they wait for the waters to recede.

Anyone who needs Red Cross shelter assistance and those interested in volunteering on this relief effort should call their local chapter office at the number below:

Bloomington - (309)662-0500
Canton - (309) 647-2040
Champaign/Danville - (217) 351-5861
Peru - (815)223-0922
Peoria - (309)677-7272

The response for local flood victims has now reached a level that Red Cross is requesting the assistance of our friends and neighbors.

You can donate any gift, large or small, to the Red Cross by visiting www.redcross.org/donate or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.