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How to help with tornado relief – UPDATED April 22

April 10, 2015



UPDATES as of Wednesday, April 22 …

There has been a wonderful outpouring of support and willingness to help those in Fairdale and Rochelle from the NIU campus. Recovery from disasters of this kind require long-term assistance. NIU has pledged to continue to be a resource for the on-going needs of residents in Fairdale and Rochelle. Please note, volunteers are still needed to assist with tornado debris clean-up in Fairdale through Friday, April 24. AmeriCorps and Team Rubicon will be accepting volunteers at the Farm Services building at 5607 Route 72, Kirkland, Ill., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, April 24. Full details about volunteering can be found at the Village of Kirkland website. Those willing to volunteer are encouraged to call the Volunteer Hotline, 815-762-8653, before heading to Kirkland.

NIU has not been asked to coordinate an additional large-scale volunteer team at this time but is encouraging all those interested in volunteering to consider serving this week as able. NIU will not be providing transportation. Please make sure to the check the website for up-to-date information.

Please contact the Fairdale Volunteer Hotline at 815-762-8653 or the NIU Office of Community Affairs at 815-753-0916 with questions.

UPDATES as of Saturday, April 18 …


Due to Sunday’s forecasted heavy afternoon thunderstorms, AmeriCorps notified NIU that they will only be working a half day tomorrow and shutting down the work site by noon. Therefore, NIU will NOT be sending a group of volunteers tomorrow.

If you are still interested in volunteering Sunday morning, AmeriCorps will accept volunteers starting at 8 a.m. until approximately 10 a.m. You will need to find your own transportation to and from the volunteer check in site located at 5607 Route 72, Kirkland, Ill.

AmeriCorps is also accepting volunteers daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m at that same location. Full details can be found at

NIU representatives were in the community of Fairdale Saturday, and they are still very much in need of volunteers. We encourage you to consider volunteering as you are able. We will notify you if NIU is plans to coordinate other group volunteer efforts.


UPDATES as of Friday, April 17 …


Sunday, April 19
noon to 4:30 p.m.

NIU has been contacted by AmeriCorps, requesting volunteers for a large home site and field clean-up project from noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 19. All NIU students, faculty and staff are invited to serve together to help in this effort. Buses will depart from NIU at noon and return at 4:30 p.m. Volunteers will need to come dressed in long pants and wear hard-soled boots/shoes (tennis shoes, sandals or any type of soft-soled shoe will not be allowed).

Many people on the site have noted the large amounts of nails and sharp debris. AmeriCorps has requested 200 or more volunteers for this work. The first 250 volunteers to sign up will be guaranteed participation. All volunteers must be 15 or older. Those between the ages of 15 and 17 must be accompanied by a legal parent/guardian.

All volunteers who wish to participate must do the following:

  • Fill out the registration form.
  • Wear long pants and hard soled work boots/shoes.
  • Park at north end of NIU Convocation Center Lot C3 – located near the new outdoor sports and rec facility – no later than 11:45 a.m. Buses will leave at noon.
  • Ride to and from the site on the NIU-provided transportation. NIU volunteers are not permitted to bring their own vehicles to avoid congestion at the site.

Other things to know

  • It is not required, but volunteers are invited to bring their own work gloves and/or eye protection. Do not feel the need to purchase these items as the volunteer coordinators have plenty on hand.
  • Work will go on rain or shine. However, in the case of a thunderstorm with lightning or high winds, work will be stopped or canceled.

For more information, contact Jennifer Groce at (815) 753-0916 or (815) 501-4235 or [email protected].

UPDATES as of Tuesday, April 14 …

Volunteers are still needed! Please check in with the Operation Blessing Mobile Command Center located at the corner of Jones Road and Ninth Street, the Helms Field parking lot. Check-in is at 9 a.m. with orientation and assignment at 9:30 a.m. Volunteers must be 18 years of age and dress to work with sturdy shoes, safety glasses, long pants and gloves. The volunteers must also provide their own transportation to and from the work sites. Volunteer opportunities will be posted daily on the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Volunteer registration

From Student Involvement and Leadership Development …

Because of the overwhelming response of donations of goods, no more donations are being accepted as the community agencies DO NOT have any more space to house what’s been received. However, the Kirkland Fire Department is still accepting donations of gift cards.

Monetary Donations
Area donation sites are reporting being overwhelmed with donated items. They are requesting that donations be in the form of cash, check or gift card donations at this time. Monetary donations can be made online.

For the convenience of area residents, the DeKalb Police Department will continue to collect checks (these can be made out to Fairdale Relief Fund), cash or gift cards. Gift cards to retail or restaurant establishments are welcome, as well as gift cards for general spending.

If dropping off cash, check or gift cards to the Police Department, please place them in an envelope directed to Commander Leverton, Fairdale Relief Fund.

From the City of DeKalb … 4:45 p.m, April 10, 2015

Collection of items for Fairdale tornado relief will take place Saturday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to noon at DeKalb City Hall, 200 South Fourth Street.

Collection trailers will be located in the City Hall parking lot. Items requested include Work Gloves, flashlights, heavy duty garbage bags, cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, first aid kits (in Ziploc bags if possible), pet food, Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, hand sanitizer, toiletries, baby clothes, batteries (AA,D), baby formula, plastic silverware, non-perishable food items, pack and plays, gently used car seats.

The list is also available on the Village of Kirkland website.

Disaster responders have also indicated which items they no longer need: blankets, towels, wash cloths, water.

Donations made outside of the 9 a.m. to noon time period should be brought to the DeKalb Police Department, 700 West Lincoln Highway.

From DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott … 4:15 p.m.

To people wanting to volunteer: No additional volunteers are needed at this time. We appreciate the offers of help but allowing more volunteers into the area would cause further congestion.

To people wanting to donate food and supplies: Rescue crews currently have enough food and supplies. If you want to donate these items, please wait until further notice as to when and where to drop them off. Please do not try to deliver supplies to the affected area.

PLEASE REFRAIN from dropping off perishable food to Kirkland Fire Department. Currently, they can no longer accept perishable food items due to limited space availability.

Stay tuned to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page for further information and instructions.

The NIU Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development is coordinating campus efforts to assist the communities of Rochelle and Fairdale in the wake of the April 9 tornadoes.

At the moment, it is a waiting game, said Destiny McDonald, of SILD who is coordinating the efforts.

“Right now, the best way to help those communities would be to provide donations to for the affected residents. The towns are not yet ready for volunteers to assist with clean-up and debris removal.”

To ensure that volunteers are organized and ready to work when needed, SILD has created an online registration form where those interested in helping can provide contact information so that they can be mobilized as needed.

In the meantime, SILD will be collecting items do be donated. As of noon Friday, April 10, officials were said that they had been overwhelmed by generous donations of food, water and blankets. However, they are still in great need of the following items:

  • Work Gloves

    An early shot of the tornado near Franklin Grove, Ill. Photo courtesy Walker Ashley, NIU Deparment of Geography

    An early shot of the tornado near Franklin Grove, Ill. Photo courtesy Walker Ashley, NIU Deparment of Geography

  • Flashlights
  • Heavy duty garbage bags
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Laundry supplies
  • First aid kits (in ziploc bags if possible)
  • Pet food
  • Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toiletries
  • Baby clothes
  • Batteries (sizes AA and D)
  • Baby formula
  • Plastic silverware
  • Non perishable items
  • Pack and Plays playpens
  • Gently used car seats.

Items  can be dropped off in the Campus Life Building, Suite 150 or at the following locations or at the following locations:

NIU Athletics also has announced that it will accept donations during Saturday’s Communiversity Block Party from noon until 2 p.m. Saturday, April 11, on the West Side of Huskie Stadium. The event is being held in conjunction with the spring Huskie Bowl game. Donations will also be accepted at all NIU baseball and softball games for the remainder of the year.