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When disaster strikes, picking up the pieces and determining a way forward can seem like a monumental task, filled with uncertainty. On Father’s Day, June 20, 2021, a tornado touched down in Naperville, Woodridge, and Darien and demolished dozens of homes later deemed uninhabitable and wreaked havoc on many other homes and properties.

LSSI (Lutheran Social Services in Illinois) is the social ministry organization for the ELCA and its affiliated Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR). Together with LDR, we work with the three ELCA synods in Illinois in long-term disaster recovery. Also in Illinois are seven Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COADs). One of our staff members—Joy Medrano, LSSI’s Manager of Volunteer Engagement and Disaster Response—is Chair of the Northeast Illinois COAD (NEILCOAD). When disaster strikes in that region, NEILCOAD is responsible for coordinating a Multi-Agency Resource Center to provide support to victims of disaster.

To assist those affected by this tornado, LSSI and LDR of Illinois collaborated with the American Red Cross to quickly assemble a Multi-Agency Resource Center to provide resources and assistance last weekend. The event was held at Jefferson Junior High School in Woodridge. The people who were impacted received supplies, along with referrals for mental health and financial assistance, among other urgent needs. Those who attended also were assigned a case manager to help with the recovery process.

"We gathered 39 partner organizations representing state, local, and non-governmental affiliations and served 353 families," Medrano said. "It was fulfilling to see so many organizations come together quickly to efficiently serve so many people who were affected."

News coverage of the event was featured on Chicago television stations WGN Channel 9 and ABC News Channel 7. Watch the video coverage from Channel 7.

By supporting LSSI, you are part of this collaborative effort to help people in our communities when disaster strikes. Thank you for your continued partnership.

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LSSI/Lutheran Disaster Relief of Illinois helps organize a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) for people affected by the tornado that struck Naperville, Darien and Woodridge

June 30, 2021