When disaster strikes, Maureen Welborn instinctively wants to help. Though she lives hundreds of miles away, the Buffalo Grove resident converted part of her home into a temporary warehouse as she collected relief items for the victims of the Kansas tornadoes in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
When she learned of the tornadoes that devastated Oklahoma communities this week, she again sprang into action.
She and her daughter, Kara Welborn, have designated their home as a community drop-off location for donations to benefit the tornado victims. They are accepting items that will provide immediate aid to the tornado victims. Specific items they are collecting include bottled water, cleaning supplies, diapers, baby food and formula, pet food, work gloves and ready-to-eat non-perishable food such as canned fruit and pudding cups. Cash donations and gas station gift cards can also be donated.
“I’m retired and I just can’t do a whole lot. I’d like to jump in a car and go do disaster relief. I can’t do that, so this is the least I can do,” Maureen Welborn said.
Last year, donations filled her living room and much of her garage, the result of a social networking campaign. This year’s effort is off to a similar start, she said.
“I’ve already got 10 or 15 cases of water since I posted [on Facebook] this morning,” she said Tuesday afternoon.
Anyone who wants to donate can drop items off at Welborn’s house, 423 Bernard Drive, through June 8. If she’s not home, the items can be left on the front porch or in front of her garage. She asks that those donors leave a note so they can be thanked later. The donations will be transported to Oklahoma by other volunteers on June 10.
While clothing and household items are not being accepted at this time, Welborn said she anticipates participating in a second relief drive this summer to provide such items after the more immediate needs have been met.
Her effort is part of a grassroots program that was formed by four friends and spread via Facebook, making its way to Welborn following the Joplin, Kansas tornadoes. The volunteers who deliver the donations bring them directly to those in need, she said.