Southern Illinoisans pitch in to help displaced Texans of all kinds

Submitted by Carbondale Times on


The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey may have devastated Texas but is has also brought out the Texas-sized humanity in many from Southern Illinois.

Just a few days after the devastating hurricane hit, a group of volunteers from the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief left from the parking lot of the Johnston City Dairy Queen in vehicle loaded with supplies.

Don and Jan Kragness of Johnston City, no strangers to dropping everything and leaving on short notice to help others, are two of 10 that are spending time in a Dallas relocation center this week.

“We’ll be helping with child care,” said Jan, noting that all the members are trained and certified child care experts.  

According to Jan, helping with child care is just one of the ways that volunteers can help to alleviate the stress on those who have been displaced by the disaster.  

“The parents have to stand in long lines and fill out endless FEMA forms,” she said.  “We can care for the kids, play with them, talk, and just cuddle and rock.”

While that group worked in Dallas, another group left from Murphysboro’s St. Francis Community Animal Rescue to help with “furbabies.”

That group rolled back into Murphysboro Saturday evening with about 55 new residents.

“All of these animals were in kill shelters before Hurricane Harvey hit,” said Dr. Kay Creece.  “We pulled these so there would be room for the ones being rescued.”

Making space for the rescues in the Texas shelters allows those animals to be held longer, increasing their chances of being reunited with their owners.

Creece said the new arrivals in Murphysboro will be looking for “loving forever homes” soon.  They are currently being checked by the vets and prepared for listing on the facility’s Facebook page.

“Many of these babies came with skin issues and will need medication as well as many, many baths to recover,” said Creece.

With such a large influx of new residents, the facility could use donations. 

“The things we need most right now include Pedigree canned puppy food, Diamond brand dog, cat, puppy, and kitten dry food, dog and puppy shampoo that has no fragrance and no flea/tick stuff in it,” Creece said, adding that bleach, paper towels, newspapers, cat litter, and Fabuloso cleaner are always needed.

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Anyone interested in adopting one of the Texas rescues can submit an application at