Perspective from worker at SALS/WV emergency status

I’m swamped, so this won’t be so coherent, but passing on brief notes I typed while on phone about delivering donations tomorrow.  She said it was okay to share.  I think the same thing is happening here in Ohio, but no communication.  I just heard about this from friends in WV I’m connected with.  The Red Cross, food pantries, are not working on this here when called.  UCM doing meal tonight and upcoming, expecting more people.

I just got off the phone with SALS about delivering donations tomorrow and wanted to share that the situation there is pretty desperate.

One woman came up asking for help while I was talking with SALS – put her on the phone saying it was a typical scenario.  She was crying saying she normally works at the restaurant, but because the electricity was out had not been able to work in a week.  She had 3 children.  They weren’t prepared for a major disaster and they’d had a couple of cans of soup in the house, but normally kept frozen and refrigerated food, which went bad.  Most people have spent money on fuel either to get to more remote pantries and feeding centers or running generators.  She had spent $600 on fuel for a generator and now had nothing left for food, and there was no food to buy anyway.

SALS told me there are kids walking down the road to them, asking for food.  How do you tell kids there is no food?

The electricity had been restored temporarily to part of the area last night, more affluent, but not in the rural areas.  At the 911 meeting that was held, the officials said there was no longer an emergency.  They gave SALS one pallet of MREs and one pallet of water.  All of the ice that had been brought in was given to nursing homes, saying they “didn’t want to give it to people just to put in beer coolers.”  They have locked up the ice.  There are two feeding stations in Glengene(?), but people can’t get there.

The national guard is not helping now because the officials have told them there is no longer an emergency.  The temporary electricity that was hooked up has now gone back out and no one has anything.  She said the people in charge have good jobs and don’t understand why people can’t spend $600 on diesel fuel and have nothing left for food.  She started crying at that point and said she wished she could cure the world and make them have sense, compassion, but they think if they are okay then everyone else must be.

I asked her how many people had come for help today, food and water.  She said that even not being advertised, there were at least 30 who came, each representing a family of between 3-5, many single parents.   People begging for crumbs and they don’t have crumbs to give them, it’s disheartening.

Said if she had a gas powered generator there are four floors in their community building and could house a thousand people in natural disasters like this, but as is, they can’t.  It will probably take in her estimation 6 months to get the power back up and running.

She said 400-500 volunteers were sent up to the PGA to clean up the golf course – PGA is most important thing in the state.  Heard the governor said he was going to go to the PGA  just to show the rest of the world that West Virginians are tough and could make it through anything.

Down to their last, there is no more to get – where to go from here.

Nursing home across street is 60+ seniors now out of food.  Can’t replace it.  Fed them today, took it to them, they could not walk over to them.  One MRE meal a day can survive on it if have to – 2000 calories.

Oh my God.

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