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McHenry County community offers support to those affected by Marengo house explosion

Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com
Austin Keefer (left) and his sister, Hailey Keefer, 17, 
hold donations after attending a special town hall meeting for affected residents in Marengo Monday, June 12, 2017.
The Keefers family home was destroyed when their next door neighbors home exploded last Sunday. The family is currently staying in a hotel.
Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Austin Keefer (left) and his sister, Hailey Keefer, 17, hold donations after attending a special town hall meeting for affected residents in Marengo Monday, June 12, 2017. The Keefers family home was destroyed when their next door neighbors home exploded last Sunday. The family is currently staying in a hotel.

MARENGO – After a Marengo home explosion displaced several of the neighboring families, the surrounding community offered aid to those affected.

The explosion that leveled the house next door and caused other neighboring houses to catch fire left more than 50 homes damaged. Eighteen homes were uninhabitable and two have been destroyed.

Marengo High School offered itself as the immediate relief by opening its doors to those in need of shelter. No one needed to use the school overnight. Many of the first donations were brought to the Zion Lutheran Church in Marengo, where a dinner also was held for affected families. Seven or eight families showed up, while most of the others were settled with their relatives, Pastor Glen Bohart said.

To create a more organized donation process, Marengo officals asked that donations be directed to the Marengo area Outreach Enterprises Center, which will be accepting food, clothing, small appliances and financial donations from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Friday, according to the city’s website.

Checks should be made out to M.O.R.E Center with the memo stating it is for the Marengo disaster fund. The M.O.R.E. Center is located at 829 Greenlee St. in Marengo, and can be reached at 815-568-7950.

For those affected who do not have homeowners’ insurance and those who were renting their home, the McHenry County Housing Authority can offer a night in a motel and a bed for each person living in the home, said Sue Rose, the authority’s community service director.

Affected people who were renting their home also are offered first month’s rent and coverage of their security deposit, Rose said.

The McHenry County Housing Authority can be reached at 815-338-7752.

A Facebook page set up for the affected people is being used as an open forum for the community and contains information about donations.

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How to help 
What: All donations to help those affected by the home explosion in Marengo are going through the nonprofit M.O.R.E. Center
Where: The M.O.R.E. Center,  829 Greenlee St., Marengo
Send checks to: Checks must be written out to M.O.R.E. Center and have “Marengo Disaster Fund” in the memo line. Checks should be mailed to M.O.R.E. Center, 829 Greenlee St., Marengo, IL 60152
Other donations: Non-perishable food, clothing and small appliances can be dropped of the M.O.R.E. Center from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Friday.
Website: www.marengomorecenter.org/
Phone: 815-568-7950

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