WOOD RIVER — Members of the National Guard in Madison County to aid flood fighting efforts this week received free meals and supplies from area residents. Since 2007, Riverbend Family Ministries of Wood River has worked to help those in need when they need it. That goal this week has meant providing supplies and breakfast, lunch and dinner to members of the National Guard. On Wednesday, the non-profit organization fed 13 soldiers at noon. They’re expecting that number to nearly double by Saturday.
Angie Betts, one of the group’s members helping with the project, has been touched by the response from the community. “People have sent everything from bug spray to laundry, sometimes even cash,” she said. “I’m very happy with the response of the community.”
On May 30, Madison County Chairman Kurt Prenzler signed a proclamation declaring Madison County a major disaster and asking Gov. JB Pritzker to provide the National Guard to aid in its flood fighting efforts. Prenzler sought help monitoring the county’s 44 miles of levees as the Mississippi River nears its anticipated crest of 38.4 feet on Friday. In May, Pritzker signed a proclamation declaring Madison County and 33 others as a disaster.
On May 31, he activated 200 members of the National Guard due to flooding. On Tuesday, he activated another 200 members for flooding. “As we continue to strengthen our levees in west-central Illinois, we must also plan and prepare for this force of nature to move downstream to our southern Illinois communities,” Pritzker said Tuesday. “These soldiers will help not only bolster our current numbers on the ground, but allow us to pre-position key assets in downstream communities to prepare for what’s to come in the days ahead.” At 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Mississippi River was at 37.83 feet in Alton. Flood stage at Alton is 21 feet. The record height of 42.72 feet was set on Aug. 1, 1993. As the crest neared, the city-constructed floodwall in Alton appeared sound with very little water on the dry side as businesses pumped water from basements back to the river.
Click here for full news article.