The WINGS resale shop, 756 E. Northwest Highway., was destroyed after lightning struck a transformer on a utility pole next to the building about 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Organizers of a charity that shelters abused women and children spent Saturday trying to regroup after a resale shop in Palatine -- the group's biggest single source of revenue -- was struck by lightning and burned to the ground during Friday's powerful thunderstorms.
"It's going to be hugely missed," said Rita Canning, board chairwoman of Women in Need Growing Stronger. "We lost everything in the store and it's not covered by insurance because it's all donated."
The WINGS resale shop, 756 E. Northwest Highway., was destroyed after lightning struck a transformer on a utility pole next to the building about 4:30 p.m. Friday, sparking the fire.
The lightning was part of three storm systems that blew through the Chicago area Friday and early Saturday downing hundreds of trees and leaving thousands of residents without power a day later. By the end of Saturday, 146,000 people were still without power, with Des Plaines and nearby northwest suburbs hit the hardest, ComEd officials said.
WINGS provides emergency shelter and other services to about 500 domestic abuse victims and their families annually, Canning said. The group operates a safe house for immediate short-term shelter in Palatine, and it places needy families in WINGS-owned apartments and single-family homes for stays of up to two years.
Terri Channer, a senior director of development at WINGS, said about 30 percent of its operation is funded through proceeds from the Palatine resale shop and the two others selling used furniture, clothing and other items. The group's budget is about $3.5 million.
The Palatine store -- the largest of the three resale shops -- brings in about $500,000 annually, Canning said.
"Our first and foremost goal is to get reopened as soon as possible because every day closed we're losing $1,500 to $2,000 a day that funds our programs," Canning said.
She said many friends and supporters have offered to help, calling the response "absolutely incredible."
Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz met with WINGS officials Saturday and offered the group space in a city-owned building until the group decides how to proceed with rebuilding. Officials from WINGS will meet with a city manager Monday to discuss plans, Canning said.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service