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Hundreds Of Volunteers Help Midwest Food Bank's Harvey Relief Efforts

Nate Head
Volunteers pack supplies at the Midwest Food Bank in Normal on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017.

The Midwest Food Bank is getting lots of local help as it assists those in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

An estimated 250 volunteers served at its Normal warehouse Monday, filling disaster relief boxes with dry foods, water and other necessary supplies.  

Tim Fisher, a Normal native, currently lives with his wife and two kids in Houston. He returned to the area last week to attend a funeral when Harvey landed, leaving him stuck in his hometown.

Credit Nate Head / WGLT
Normal native Tim Fisher, left, currently lives with his wife and two kids in Houston. He was volunteering Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, at the Midwest Food Bank in Normal.

“When we left Houston early Tuesday, we knew about Harvey, but at that point, they weren’t sure what it was going to turn into,” Fisher said. “All of a sudden, it expanded and blew up to the point it is at now.”

Phil Hodel, Midwest Food Bank communication director, posted a notice on Facebook on Friday to promote volunteer interest. He says the most popular post prior to last week reached approximately 5,000 people. The Harvey post generated over 100 shares, reaching 12,000 people.

Hodel was pleased with the turnout.

“The response has been phenomenal,” Hodel said. “We have over 200 volunteers working here today … over half of those are first-time volunteers, so we are happy to have those.”

Fisher and his family have been tracking a live-feed of his house from an exterior security camera.

“We sort of felt helpless. We’re watching this happen and we know what’s going on with our friends (in Houston),” Fisher said. “My wife looked it up and saw the Midwest Food Bank was doing this and we felt like we needed to come out here and box up supplies and send to those in need.”

Hodel says the schedule for the rest of the week has yet to be determined, but he encourages interested volunteers to continue to check Midwest Food Bank’s Facebook page.

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