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Fundraiser shows community Taking Action

Update: 10:23 pm CHAMPAIGN -- WCIA-3 News teamed up with the United Way for a Tornado Relief Drive.
Update: 10:23 pm
CHAMPAIGN -- WCIA-3 News teamed up with the United Way for a Tornado Relief Drive. Community members donated $55,000 for victims.

The United Way was very clear stating the money is not theirs. They give all donations to local non-profits. Those groups then distribute the money throughout the community.

But, they have to do things one stage at a time. Drives like this are first. Once funds are collected, the money isn't just handed out right away. Organizations like the Red Cross, school districts and even food pantries get involved.

Together, they have to assess the specific needs of the community. Once all that's done, the United Way will dole out the money accordingly. The United Way does not give money to individuals.

Leaders say there will be a reporting system to show how people were serviced with those funds and what kinds of resources were provided. The United Way says it plans to be completely transparent throughout the whole process.

It will take a little while to process all the information, but once they have it all figured out, the United Way says it will all be posted on its website or Facebook page.
Original: 4:12 pm
CHAMPAIGN -- Ask and you shall receive. Wednesday, Central Illinois stepped up to the cause and helped WCIA-3 News and United Way raise money for victims of the storm in Gifford. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau has more about the flood of donations.

Both the Red Cross and EMA kept saying how much cash donations were needed, so, of course, people in this community met the challenge.

"Here's $20."

"Thank you so much. This will really help."

Whether it was $20 here or a couple of bucks there, the cash is pouring in.

"As much as I can, man. Whatever they need, just let us know. We'll give them a hand."

"Well, I feel so sorry for those people. Just small things I can do."

EMA and the Red Cross are doing what they can to control who gets into the disaster area and what's donated.

"We were going to take a drive out there, but they don't want anybody out there."

So, for many, this was their first chance to give to those in need.

"I'm not really physically able to work right now, so I thought I'd just bring some money by."

"Well, I know people in Gifford and I just feel for them."

"It's been wonderful. It just makes my heart sing that the community is so supportive of us and they have been driving by at a steady pace to help support the folks out at Gifford."

Shaundra Sommerville even took time out of her day to stand out in the cold with us and help collect donations.

"I think that teamwork makes dream-work, so let's make the dream happen."

"It's incredible. It is just incredible."

And it helps everyone see the light in a dark situation.

"We have a pretty tough world we're living in, but yet, you see some good come out of tragedy every time."

Keep sending in those donations.
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