As dawn broke Friday morning residents of Wilmington, NC again woke up to freezing temperatures and worse… No power.
Thousands were left draped in blankets or huddled by a fire as city workers scrambled to restore power as quickly as possible. In a time of local crisis, community leaders turned to a reliable and familiar source, the American Red Cross.
James Buckley, a retired firefighter now volunteering with the Red Cross found himself spread out across the southeast the past few days. Buckley has been tasked with driving the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle- ERV for short- throughout the southeast. In times of disaster the ERV gives out critical supplies like food, water and blankets to those in need.
On this particular day the ERV helped supply a hot breakfast to senior and disabled citizens in Grover Plaza. Fifty hot meals were generously prepared and packaged by Jeff Shea and his team at Golden Corral, located at 5211 College Rd South.
Citizens of Grover Plaza showed relief on their faces when the ERV arrived. Sam Holt was one of the first residents to come up to the truck. “We were without power for about 35 hours,” he said. “It’s so good to get a hot meal.”
Scott Whisenant shared similar feelings. ” I was very relieved (to see the Red Cross). We couldn’t cook (and) we lost the stuff in our refrigerator. It’s unreal.”
Tina Baysden, a Grover Plaza resident since 2002 took a hands-on approach and helped volunteers hand out food to residents unable to walk. “I think they (Red Cross) are awesome,” she said. They are concerned about the elderly and disabled.”
Like many residents Tina decided to brave the power outage and stay at her home. “I have three service dogs and they’re like family,” she said.
While many decide to stay home the American Red Cross urges anyone, especially the sick or elderly, without power to seek proper shelter in times of disaster. For tips on how to stay prepared, stay warm or where to find shelter in your area please visit redcross.org.