Pekin-area residents can safely donate money and critical supplies for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas – and Hurricane Irma as it approaches Florida – through a number of church, charity and business outlets.
Area churches have been offering their members options to donate financially through them or contact affiliated charity and aid organizations.
The Midwest Food Bank, based in Peoria, and the Salvation Army’s Pekin outlet also are coordinating efforts to supply food, cleaning supplies and hygiene kits for the victims of Harvey, the massive storm that struck Houston, southern Texas and western Louisiana last week.
Similar efforts also are expected in the wake of Irma, which has heavily damaged Carribbean island areas ahead of its weekend arrival in Florida.
The Salvation Army outlet at 243 Derby St. is accepting donations of money and materials for Disaster Relief Boxes that the Midwest Food Bank is sending to affiliates for dispersal to Harvey victims.
Donors also can bring the items to the Food Bank at 9005 N. Industrial Road in Peoria, and can contribute money by clicking the Donate Now button on the agency’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/midwestfoodbank.
The Relief Boxes are comprised of:
• Hygiene kits: soap; shampoo; toothbrush and toothpaste; razors; deodorant; combs and brushes; nail clippers; wash cloths; diapers, wipes and feminine hygiene products.
• Cleaning supplies: gas-powered pressure washers; generators; high-volume commercial fans; portable sump pumps and garden hoses; 10-gallon Shop Vacs; mops and buckets; standard and contractor brooms and long-handled scrapers; flat shovels, squeegees and industrial scrub brushes; rubber gloves; mold-resistant respirator masks; shop towels/rags and sponges in boxes; all-purpose cleaners, putty knives and large garbage bags.
• Food items (no glass jars): canned soup, vegetables, fruit, pasta and tuna; peanut butter; breakfast cereal; mac ‘n’ cheese; Ramen noodles; dry pasta; spaghetti sauce, toilet paper and paper towels.
Area churches are working with their parish members and affiliated charity organizations to funnel help to Harvey’ victims, said the Rev. Dr. Joel Catlin, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Pekin.
“It will be the same thing” in Florida if Irma wreaks havoc, he said.
• United Methodist churches in the area, and nationwide, are providing “100 percent” in financial donations to relief, “with no overhead,” through the United Methodist Committee on Relief, or UMCOR, Catlin said.
Its website, www.umcor.org, accepts those donations as well as hurricane relief kits with items listed on the website. Donations by check also can be sent to UMCOR at Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068, with a memo line notation of Advance 901670.
• Midwest Mission Disaster Center, also affiliated with United Methodist, also is working in Harvey’s wake. Details of how people can donate or volunteer are found on its website, midwestmissiondc.org.
• Catholic Charities, the official domestic relief agency of the Catholic Church, invites those wishing to contribute to its efforts in Texas to go to its website, catholiccharitiesusa.org. The agency also states that 100 percent of donations will go directly to victim relief efforts.
• The North Parkway Assembly of God Church in Pekin is accepting financial donations from anyone wishing to assist in covering the help it has committed to Harvey relief through Convoy of Hope.
Pekin residents may remember that charitable organization visited the city in the wake of the tornado that destroyed and damaged hundreds of homes in November 2013, said Karen Shorey, wife of church pastor Darin Shorey.
• The American Red Cross offers several methods to make donations for hurricane relief through its website, redcross.org.
The agency’s Peoria affiliate also is working with area gas stations and stores, including in Pekin, to collect donations from customers.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin