Illinois Air National Guard officials have a transport plane on standby and are awaiting Department of Defense approval to load it with supplies to send to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines, Gov. Pat Quinn said Friday.
The governor said he's working with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to secure permission from the federal government to send the plane. There was no immediate word as to when -- or if -- that permission would be granted.
For five days, volunteers at the Jose P. Rizal Heritage Center, on Chicago's northwest side, have been collecting water, food and supplies to send to those in need. They said air transportation has been their greatest challenge and reached out to the governor for assistance.
Quinn visited the center on Friday to observe the efforts and to thank the volunteers. He also dropped off a $1,000 personal check.
"I encourage everyone in Illinois to do what they can to contribute to these critical relief efforts," Quinn said. "As the Philippines recovers from this unprecedented catastrophe, we want them to know they are in the hearts and prayers of the people of Illinois and help is on the way."
Volunteers said they've got plenty of food and supplies but what is badly needed is money to help get all of the collected supplies to southeast Asian country. Everything that was collected has been packaged and repacked to take as little space as possible on the long international flight.