Our prayers and thoughts go to all in the Nashville area whose homes and businesses were damaged by the tornado and also to the first responders, mayors and disaster relief volunteers who have a very long road ahead of them.
We know how you feel, as we’ve been there.
And, if you know me, you know that more than prayers and thoughts are needed. Cash donations are always welcome and encouraged. There’s always the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. When I hear which community foundation will be collecting disaster donations, I’ll post that on our website and Facebook pages.
I’m confident that Nashville-area fire departments, food pantries, churches,and hospitals also will be grateful for your cash donations. If you want to learn more, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to my community foundation hat, today I’ll wear my COAD hat (community organizations in disaster).
We are a team of Grundy organizations who help with disaster response – after first responders and before long-term disaster volunteers arrive.
Our leadership team consists of the Emergency Response Team at the First United Methodist Church in Morris, Grundy County Emergency Management Agency, the United Way of Grundy County, the Grundy County Health Department and the Community Foundation of Grundy County.
We are available and ready to activate when a disaster strikes in Grundy County, whether a natural or man-made disaster. We rally volunteers and resources from the local organizations, and we maintain an active social media presence to get accurate information out to the public and to report back to first responders and elected officials any rumors that we hear so that they can be addressed.
While listening to the news this morning, they interviewed a Nashville resident who rents. His quote is, “I just paid my rent yesterday. Today, I have nothing.”
This brings to mind another role of COAD – public education and awareness.
One item we push constantly is the hope that everyone has insurance to help recover from disasters. This includes homeowners, renters and auto. We learned many lessons the hard way as a result of our tornadoes.
If you rent, your landlord has insurance on the building, but you need renters insurance for your possessions, including clothing, televisions, computers, furniture, appliances and toys for your kids.
The Illinois Department of Insurance has a consumer education piece that can be found at insurance.illinois.gov/Consumer/RentersInsuranceHelp.pdf
According to local insurance brokers, renters insurance can run $11-15 per month for $25,000 coverage with reasonable credit and fire department.
This can run more if you have poor credit or have a rural fire department.
I know that for some of our residents living on a super tight budget, $15 a month can be a stretch, but COAD asks that you really consider it, as we’ve seen so many renters in Grundy County end up with nothing as a result of the Morris flood in 2013 and the two tornadoes in Diamond and Coal City.
There’s a reason why the first week of March is Severe Weather Awareness Week.
COAD asks that you be prepared, which includes having insurance and a family evacuation plan and knowing how your sump pump works, as the spring rains will be here soon.
Grundy County Emergency Management Agency has an app that we invite you to download and follow. It’s available for both Android and Apple – type “Grundy County EMA” to download.
Once loaded on your phone, you’ll get real time push notifications of severe weather and other emergencies throughout Grundy County.
• Julianne Buck is the executive director of the Community Foundation of Grundy County