Hampstead spearheads flood relief Illinois county to receive aid

November 03, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

It snowed Saturday in Hancock County, Illinois, where many farms are still under water from the summer's flood and where residents are eagerly awaiting flood relief from Hampstead and Carroll County.

"It was like, 'My gosh, winter is here and we're not ready for it," said Susan Sewell, a cooperative extension service worker in Hancock County who is helping coordinate flood relief from Carroll.

Ms. Sewell said many Hancock County families were able to venture onto their farms last week for the first time since the flood, and that many will not be able to return to their homes in time for the holidays.

In September, a Hampstead volunteer group called Friends for Flood Relief selected Hancock County as the recipient of its help.

The Carroll County government later decided to concentrate its relief efforts on Hancock County.

Carroll residents also will be helping Crystal City, Mo. Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown said yesterday that Westminster has been paired with Crystal City through a project of the Maryland secretary of state's office and the Maryland Municipal League.

He said he had reached agreement with the Carroll County commissioners that Westminster would assist the countywide relief project, and that 10 percent of the money collected would be used to help Crystal City. The amount was selected because Westminster accounts for about 10 percent of Carroll's population, he said.

Carroll may also help Alexandria, Mo., the town adopted by Mount Airy, and Winfield, Mo., the town adopted by Winfield, Md., said R. Patrick Hill, chairman of Carroll's flood relief effort.

Aid shipments to the four areas might be combined if it is practical, he said.

Mr. Hill said Carroll County joined Hampstead's effort to help Hancock County after Bonni Crispin, who chairs Friends for Flood Relief, asked the county for help.

He said the county is duplicating some of Hampstead's efforts, such as setting up a separate bank account for donations. But he said that is being done so Carroll County can separately document all its work, and so the county effort does not overshadow what is being done by Hampstead's organizers.

"We didn't want to have it seem as if we were trying to run their program," he said.

Because Carroll County already has an accounting system in place, he said, it was able to set up the fund with little extra effort.

Barbara Thomas, who is on the committee that leads Friends for Flood Relief, said Monday that donations started slowly, then picked up and have now slacked off again.

She said the largest donation came after a dance at North Carroll Middle School, where winter coats and canned goods were collected.

Considering that Carroll County's relief effort has only been running two weeks, Mr. Hill said, the response so far has been "tremendous," especially from area farmers.

One Carroll farmer has pledged four tractor-trailer loads of straw for Midwestern farmers, Mr. Hill said.

L Five trucks have been donated for county shipments, he said.

"We are looking for additional trucks, tractors and trailers."

At 8 a.m. Saturday, 16 volunteers loaded a truck donated by Roadway Express with 324 of the 1,000 bales of alfalfa donated by Manchester -- all that would fit, said Miriam DePalmer, the town's assistant zoning administrator.

Ms. Sewell said Hancock County's food needs are "pretty well taken care of," but residents there need new winter clothing for children, such as gloves, boots and hats.

In Hancock County, the highway department and the local Job Training Partnership office have compiled a list of families that need help, including specific information such as the sizes of children's clothing, she said. These families will be "adopted" by Carroll County families.

Donations for adopted families will be gathered at a yet-to-be-designated Carroll site by Dec. 8, for shipment by truck to Illinois, said Micki Smith, who is coordinating the Maryland end of the adopt-a-family effort.

"One thing that we're really striving to do is adopt these families out so someone else is helping them get through the holiday season," Ms. Sewell said.

Ms. Smith, deputy director of the county's Department of Administrative Services, said Monday she has received the names of 19 Hancock County families who need help and is expecting more. Three families already have been matched with Carroll families, she said.

She said she had planned to have all the families adopted by families of county employees, but help from other Carroll residents is encouraged.

Other needs in Hancock County include cleaning supplies, landscaping supplies and building materials. Hancock County farmers need hay, straw, seed, fertilizer and pesticides, Ms. Sewell said.

Moral support also is being sought, she said.

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