Strength in #Brookport.

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Kathadale Harris was just a few miles away at home as a tornado rolled into Brookport, Illinois, and rammed through H and H Feed Store — her family’s business for nearly three decades. She said, “My granddaughter loves this place and I usually bring her with me… but thank God it was Sunday and we weren’t around.”

Tornadoes have come through this town of 900 in past years, but the damage this time around was beyond devastating. “It’s held up through all kinds of storms,” Kathadale said of her family’s store. “So we definitely didn’t see this coming.”

Today, the Red Cross is assisting all of the residents in this Southern Illinois town — by offering meals, bulk supplies, as well as shelter throughout the day.  So far we have served hundreds of meals to those needing a quick break from the clean-up.

As Brookport residents went through the rubble, cleaning up the destruction while searching for valuable items, it was Kathadale’s tears in her eyes that pierced through all of the commotion.  As she intently watched her son, daughter and other family members pick up what was left behind of their store — she spoke with bittersweet gratitude. “I’m just glad because it could be much worse,” she said.

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If you or someone you know is in Southern Illinois, is in need of help, you can find the Red Cross at our shelter in Metropolis (just west of Brookport): First Baptist Church on 307 Massac Creek Road, where dinner will be served tonight. Volunteers are also handing out bulk relief supplies such as gloves, trash bags, and cleaning supplies — near 4th and Crockett, behind Brookport Elementary School, 319 Ferry Street.

You can help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. Visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

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