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Donations Pile Up On Southwest Side As Sisters Work To Help Tornado-Ravaged Mayfield, Kentucky

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The bags and boxes are filling up inside a business on the city's Southwest Side – ready to go to tornado victims in Kentucky.

As CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot reported Tuesday, the efforts are the work of two sisters who are determined to help hard-hit Mayfield.

This is the sisters' way of giving back. On the second day of Operation Save Mayfield Tuesday, there were diapers, hundreds of bottles of water, bags of clothing, and food like cookies, chips, Spam, breakfast cereal, and canned vegetables.

The generosity has been overwhelming for the organizer of this effort.

"I'm speechless," said Yesenia Huizar of Operation Save Mayfield. "Honestly, I am speechless."

Huizar fought back tears as she talks about the outpouring of donations at her cousin's business in the West Elsdon community - E/C Dry Cleaning - for tornado ravaged Mayfield, Kentucky.

"I know it's going to help so many families that are going through a really rough time right now," she said.

Huizar and her sister, Cassandra, organized Operation Save Mayfield over the weekend. They put this post on social media, never expecting what would happen next.

Huizar's response after receiving a cash donation?

"I wish I could do more than a hug," she said.

Zipporah Jones brought in several boxes of clothes.

"I can just imagine how hard that is," Jones said. "Someone is going to try and pull their life back together."

When she was 6 years old, Huizar and her family moved to Mayfield from Chicago.

"Everyone was so kind to us growing up," she said.

Huizar taught school in Mayfield and proudly wears a sweatshirt with the school's mascot, the Cardinal.

"My little sister and I both decided we needed to give back," she said, "because they gave us so much, and we can identify with all of the stories of the children. We were in their shoes."

Huizar recently moved back to Chicago. When she saw the devastation nearly her entire life, she had to help. Her mother, father, and 96-year-old grandmother not only survived the tornado, but their home is still standing, with no damage.

"My mom said, 'I know God was looking after us,'" Huizar said. "She said there's no other way of explaining it, and that's the reason that we also decided to do this."

There are some specific donated items that are much-needed.

"They said right now what we most need is baby stuff – so that includes wipes, diapers, formulas, bottles – anything that can just help the small ones, because there's a huge amount of children," Huizar said. "And so they also asked for hygiene products – you know, even feminine hygiene products."

Another bag donated Tuesday contained a blanket and a baby snuggle, which Huizar said came from a woman who had just had a baby shower. Huizar said the woman told her the people in Mayfield needed the items more than she herself does.

A driver who was donating his time and diesel to drive all of these donations to Mayfield had to back out Monday night. But late Tuesday, two semi-trailer truck drivers said they are stepping up to help.

They will be loading all of the donated items into their trucks and leaving for Mayfield, Kentucky at 6 a.m. Saturday.

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