Suburban community steps up to help those impacted by EF3 tornado

After an EF3 tornado struck late Sunday night, officials in suburban Woodridge say damage assessment is about 80 percent complete.

So far, about 300 homes sustained some type of damage, 140 homes have major damage and 21 homes are a complete loss.

The devastation is still shocking to many and the road to recovery has only just begun. But one bright spot has shown through – the way community members and businesses have stepped up to help.


"It's stuff like this that makes me nervous because I worry about how soon that might just collapse," said Emily Slayton.

Inside Skeleton Key Brewery, co-owner Emily Slayton surveys what she calls "pure destruction."

"The roof is gone, so it's just open, you can see the sun shining in," said Slayton.

She says the brewery just reopened with an expanded indoor area two months ago, and now much of it is gone.

"It's hard to call your employees and say, 'you don't have a job anymore because your job got destroyed by a tornado,'" said Slayton.

But since disaster struck, more than $84,000 has been raised through a GoFundMe page to help support the business and its employees.

"I'm so grateful for everybody who's contributing. It means so much," said Slayton.

The generosity continues at Shanahan's Food & Spirits in Woodridge. The pub has made about 200 meals for The American Red Cross to distribute. It also will pick up the tab for any customer who was impacted by the tornado.

"We're a family business and we consider our community extended family," said Shanahan's Food & Spirits President Amanda Pappas.

In Crest Hill, the owner of the restaurant Burger Rebellion is also offering a free meal to anyone who experienced significant damage.

And to help residents secure what is left of their belongings, U-Haul is now offering 30 days of free traditional or portable self-storage units.

"They've got enough to worry about, getting their homes back in order," said Angela Farley, Marketing Company President of U-Haul Chicago Western Suburbs.

Pappas agrees.

"This is what the community is all about," she said.