They're set in Champaign-Urbana for whatever the hurricane blows our way.
At 8 a.m. today, a team of staff members representing the United Way of Champaign County, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, the Frances Nelson Health Center and the local public health district were assembled in a large room on the fourth floor of the Illinois Terminal Building in downtown Champaign. They were prepared to help refugees in Champaign County from Hurricane Katrina.
They'll be there, said Andrea Rundell of the United Way, for as long as there are people to help. The service center will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Services available include: immediate shelter (in local hotels); food and clothing; referral to other agencies for ongoing assistance (the Salvation Army and Red Cross); medical screenings and other health care; information on community services, including schools, education, child care; and more.
The effort began late last week when the United Way, which had been getting calls from people about where to go for what, called a meeting for 3 p.m. Friday to try to establish a coordinated system here. Representatives of 30 organizations showed up. Over the weekend, Andrea Rundell from the United Way and representatives of the Red Cross and Salvation Army helped get everything set up.
No one is sure how many refugees will end up in Champaign County. Rundell estimates there are about 40 families here now. She said she's not sure if any evacuees are being flown here. But if they are, Champaign County is ready, willing and more than able to help.