The sirens went off that Sunday morning. I thought nothing of it — my whole life sirens have gone off without repercussions. As a precaution, I sent my kids to the basement but my husband and I stood outside watching the sky. The clouds were dark, ominous, and beautiful — until they started to churn. A large funnel cloud developed and it was headed our way.
We ran into the basement and threw ourselves on top of our girls. We heard it arrive. It crashed through our house, tore down walls and shattered windows. We screamed. It was loud, and then it was over. Slowly, we shook ourselves off, gathered our courage and walked up the basement stairs — right into the light of day. Our house was gone. We had lost everything. And not just my family— our entire neighborhood had been demolished.
In the midst of such a nightmare, however, people's generosity shined through. Fortunately, my family was able to rent a house soon after the storm destroyed ours. But our kitchen was empty; the shelves were bare. Local churches provided us with food and water necessary to fill our pantries. We were also able to get the kitchen supplies — generously donated by The Pampered Chef through their partnership with Feeding America and the Peoria Area Food Bank — we needed to cook a good meal and restore some normalcy to our uprooted lives.
We might have lost all our material possessions, but I don't even care about those anymore. I care about my family. We are all alive, we are all healthy, and we are surrounded by a community of people who are helping us heal and rebuild. I feel truly blessed. Together, with the support of others, I know we will be able to weather any storm.