Mason-Westown tornado relief effort extended

By Jim McCabe on November 30 at 1:02pm

There’s been a change of plans for running supplies to the tornado-ravaged Central Illinois town of Washington.

Andy Mason of Mason Family Farms says he won’t take a 45-foot truck bed filled with donated items to Washington today, as was the original plan. The truck, which arrived at Westown Ford in Jacksonville last Saturday when a donation drive started, has been accumulating materials since then.

Mason says he’s had discussions with Nick Xamis of Westown, and a decision was made to wait until the truck is full.

“We’ve changed our thinking, because I don’t want to cut anybody off or stop them, so if we get a trailer full [and] it takes another week or two, that’s fine. We know it’s a busy time; people are traveling, the word may not have got out the best. We’re getting calls and donations every day,” says Mason.

“It’s full as far as the floor goes, so you need to sort through the items. My intention is to make it so full that the door won’t shut, and then when that occurs, then we’ll make plans to get it transported to where it needs to go,” he adds.

Mason says the truck is still accepting donations. He says the community has had a great response, with many donating clothes. In speaking with the Salvation Army, Mason says what’s mainly needed right now in Washington are non-perishable food items, paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper.

He says this type of donation drive could be an annual event.

“We’d partner with someone every holiday season and run it between Thanksgiving and Christmas next year. It doesn’t really always have to be a disaster to do this sort of thing. We’ll just take it where it needs to go,” explains Mason.

“You can get a lot of stuff when something like this occurs, and that’s fine, but it’ll go on storage, per se. If they’ve got everything they need for now, it’ll be stored for the next problem that comes along.”

Mason says the items being donated will most likely be taken to a warehouse when he does go to Washington. In addition to the Salvation Army, he says he’s been coordinating with the Red Cross as well.

To donate, simply stop by Westown Ford on West Morton.