"Help for Harrisburg" Has Huge Impact

Published 03/19 2012 06:10PM

Updated 03/19 2012 06:33PM

    This store in Harrisburg is piling up with food and supplies. And, much of that is thanks to people right here in Central Illinois. Last week, WCIA-3 News, the Illini Baseball Team, and the United Way joined forces for the "Help the Harrisburg" drive.
    Tons of donations were collected to help those who survived last month's deadly tornado. WCIA-3's Jeff Wagner tracks all the supplies and food as the donations made their way to Harrisburg this weekend.
    The Illini already had a game scheduled at Southern Illinois University. That was one of the reasons behind putting together the donation drive. After the game, the team's journey ended with an emotional stop in the tornado-ravaged town.
    Coming home to Harrisburg was a bittersweet experience for Illini infielder, Reid Roper.
    "My catcher, my senior year, you see his house you know it's completely gone."
    "And so you see the need of that one family and you know there's many more families like that."
    His family was one of the lucky ones. Their house is still standing. But, hundreds of his neighbors lost their homes. And seven people lost their lives.
    "This has been all hands on deck from every man woman and child in this community and everyone's done their part to help."
    Now Roper, his teammates and the people of Central Illinois are lending a hand too. The team dropped off 18,000 pounds of food and supplies, turning this once empty building into Harrisburg's donation headquarters. On top of that, the town also got more than $10,000 in cash and gift cards.
    "It's going a long way in helping those that lost everything, helping us put this city back together, helping us take care of those that have been displaced and injured."
    The town's rebuilding process is only in the beginning stages, and federal aid might not ever show up. But, thankfully, this group did.
    "My hat's off to the University of Illinois baseball team, the City of Champaign and all of our friends up in the northern part of the state of Illinois."
    "You know we have a great community we live in, and it's always been very giving and this is just another great example of that."
    A real estate agent who lost her home was the one who helped the town get access to the empty building. And, one of the town's churches is in charge of making sure struggling families get the supplies they need.
    Everyone interviewed was overly appreciative for all the donations. It really meant a lot to them to get such a big helping hand.

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