Community Continues to Support
Roughly two months after a large, destructive tornado tore through the western suburbs, members of the Ranch View community are continuing to pick up the pieces-literally and figuratively. On Friday night, Midwest BBQ Outreach helped provide a delicious treat for those affected. Thanks to efforts from neighborhood organizer Kristy Kennedy, BBQ experts Kirk Phariss and Andy Ayers, monetary and food donations, as well as over a dozen volunteers, Friday August 13th was a beautiful evening filled with hope, community, and of course, barbecue!
Midwest started cooking early Friday morning. Volunteers arrived around 5PM and set up tables, some chairs, desserts and beverages, and were ready to greet residents by 6PM. An energetic group of neighbors entered the court and were directed to tables filled with meats, corn casserole, beans and coleslaw. Ike and Oak donated craft beers and a variety of tasty desserts were donated from neighbors. Over 200 residents were served! There was a kids tent with water bottles to decorate and candy to munch on. There truly was something for everyone. To many, it seemed like a reunion of sorts-a chance to reconnect with old neighbors and meet new ones. It was also an opportunity to share stories about insurance claims, temporary housing, contractors and logistics.
When asked about the event, organizer Kristy Kennedy said, “This tornado could have hit any one of our homes. This is our community. I have many dear friends who are displaced and have had major damage to their homes. These are people I’ve carpooled with, volunteered with, had playgroup with when my kids were small. We’ve watched each other’s children grow up. In addition to setting up a Facebook group with my friend and neighbor Kelly Daugherty, I wanted to do something fun for the community. My brother connected me to Midwest BBQ Outreach to make Friday night happen. Overall, this was very much a community coming together to support each other. It was a lovely event.”
The community has stepped in so many ways: gift cards pouring into Ranch View Elementary School, special events, elbow grease, decorated planters lining the streets, signs of encouragement and countless other donations. Through the community Facebook page, people have jumped in to help in every which way. A resident would request a tarp and it would be delivered within hours. Others requested help in tree removal or the use of a power tool, and those needs were met instantly. It In times of need it’s wonderful to see the beautiful side of humanity.