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Chicago Residents Collect Donations For Families Impacted By Kentucky Tornado

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Chicago family is starting a drive to collect goods for the people of Mayfield, Kentucky, which was hardest hit after tornados ravaged parts of the South and Midwest.

The family is actually from Mayfield. The two sisters were just there for Thanksgiving. Their parents lived through the tornado, and they say it's no question that they have to help.

"I know that we here in Chicago might not know this tiny town of Mayfield," Cassandra Huizer said.

But for Cassandra and and her sister Yesenia, the Kentucky town of 10,000 is a beloved home.

"It's devastating to see that our little town has become nothing," said Cassandra.

Landmarks from childhood memories like the courthouse are gone.

"We were there at the post office on Wednesday buying Christmas stamps," said Cassandra.

"The images were horrific," said Yesenia.

The massive tornado, which killed and injured dozens and decimated homes, thankfully spared their terrified parents and other family members.

"You're blessed, but at the same time you owe it to the community who made you who you are, you owe it to help them," said Yesenia.

The sisters are now in touch with Mayfield's mayor and gathering goods in Chicago. They are calling it Operation Save Mayfield.

"Hopefully take a lot of water. That's what they need," said Cassandra.

They are opening the doors of their family business, EC Cleaners at 5312 South Pulaski Rd. with the hope people will bring clothes, coats and blankets. It is hard to think of something people do not need.

The goal is to fill up trailers that they're still looking for.

"We have drivers that are willing to donate their time and diesel," said community organizer Eddie Guillen.

Next Saturday they plan to go back into Mayfield -- this time as hometown helpers.

"Even though we don't live there anymore, we want to give back as much as we can," said Yesenia.

"And so I know that Chicago has a huge heart," said Cassandra.

Their doors open Monday morning at 8 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. and remain so all week. And if you can't make it you can call (815)408-0709 or email

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