Suburban businesses, charities send help to hurricane area
Suburban businesses and charity organizations plan to mobilize their resources Tuesday to help people on the East Coast hit by Hurricane Sandy.
Businesses large and small have people ready to help with everything from communication services to window boarding. Many were in standby mode Monday, waiting to see where to send their resources. Among them:
• QCI Restoration in Elgin has about 10 people ready to head east and help with boarding up windows, water removal and drying equipment setup. By being there, they can help people who filed insurance claims get a faster response for their property repairs. The group might leave as early as this morning, said QCI's Director of Business Development Amy Edwards, who would be among the company's 45 full-time employees to head east. "It's not something we do all the time, because we're usually just focused on Chicago."
• Schaumburg-based Motorola Solutions is prepared to put equipment in place to help boost the network for radio systems used by emergency responders. The company also is sending a tractor-trailer with fuel for generators to keep antennas and other equipment working.
• Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings Corp. and Oak Brook-based Ace Hardware are sending additional inventory — like chain saws, portable generators, gasoline cans and flashlights — to its East Coast stores.
• About 700 ComEd workers are traveling to assist power crews in Philadelphia and Baltimore.
"When we have big events here in the Chicago area, we also get mutual assistance from other utilities and they stay and help us out," said ComEd spokesman John Schoen. "So we're happy to go help out with our sister utilities in this effort."
• Among suburban charities eager to help out, Addison-based Lutheran Church Charities has more than 600 disaster response-trained volunteers in northern Illinois and is determining who to deploy and when. The organization focuses on helping people in lower-income areas or people without insurance.
"We're monitoring it by the hour," said Lutheran Church Charities President Tim Hetzner.
"The minimum we'll do is take financial collections to help relief efforts, but we'll send people out there, too. When the electricity goes down, we can't do anything about that. But damage of homes, flooding ... we can help. I'm prepared to leave anytime."
• The Red Cross of Greater Chicago also is sending volunteers to the storm zone.
"If needed they're going to help make sure the shelters are in place, and they're going to work with individuals to ensure that they have what they need to weather the storm," said Red Cross spokesman Gentry Lassiter.
•The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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