SPRINGFIELD – The Conference Center received reports Feb, 23 of flooding in the far northeast corner of our conference in the Iroquois and Vermilion River Districts. We are aware of significant damage in Watseka, Cissna Park, and Aroma Park and the waters were still rising along the Iroquois and Kankakee Rivers and their tributaries at that time.
A week later, there were reports of flooding along the Rock River.
Eight homes in Milford, 24 homes in Woodland and about 200 homes in Watseka with another 20 to 50 homes in rural Iroquois County affected. Gov. Bruce Rauner has declared Kankakee, Iroquois and Vermilion counties as disaster areas.
Members of the Aroma Park UMC are manning a distribution center and providing three meals daily and cleaning supplies for nearly 200 homes in the community affected by the flooding.
“It’s vitally important that churches provide service to anybody in need,” church member Randy Walters told the Kankakee Daily Journal. “This is our first rodeo. I’ve never seen flooding this bad. Wherever the churches are, they should help out the people.”
The church is receiving donations of cleaning supplies and gift cards.
“We never had to go to them. They came to us,” said Chad Gessner, director of the Kankakee County Emergency Management Agency. “That’s what the community is about. They stood up right away and asked what they could do to help out.”
Since the weekend of Feb. 24-25, the waters have receded rapidly. Members of the Emergency Management Agency were on site to assess damage Feb. 26. County officials will be doing their assessments Feb. 28 and March 1.
Pastors with flooding in their communities are reminded to contact their District Superintendents as soon as possible. District and Conference Disaster Response Coordinators have been notified -- as has the Midwest Mission Distribution Center - and we are preparing to respond as soon as the waters recede and early responders can get in.
Now is the time to pray, gather supplies, talk to your friends, and wait for the call for help to go out.
If you would like to contribute funds, please give to the Conference Disaster Response Assistance Fund #6800
For information on UMCOR Cleaning Kit (flood buckets), please go to: https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.cloversites.com/db/dbae8cc6-7c0e-474b-93df-af3f6a01e757/documents/UMCOR_cleaning_kit.pdf