Many residents left without food after storm

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The situation is getting desperate for some families as food supplies bought prior to Hurricane Ivan are running out.

Many families in the area who cannot afford a generator to keep their freezers working are finding their stored food is spoiling and now inedible.

Some work, but are several days away from their next payday.

Others rely on food stamps, Social Security or other means.

These are often elderly people who routinely buy their groceries for a month around the first of each month.

They store the food in their freezers and now those freezers aren’t working and the food is now rotten.

Edna Simmons who lives on South Hickory Street said she has lost everything.

&uot;I had two deep freezers full of good and a refrigerator full of food and it’s all gone,&uot; she said.

&uot;Is there a fund to replace this food?&uot;

She said she had no storm damage on her home but did lose a few trees.

Now she faces the problem of having no food and no money until her next check arrives.

&uot;This is a total loss for us,&uot; she said.

&uot;I thank God for my life.

Now I just wish it was back to normal.

But there are people who can’t afford to pay for what they lost.

Who is going to help the people?&uot;

Around the corner, Pamela Powell of Reid Court, echoed Simmons’ sentiments.

&uot;Everything is gone,&uot; she said.

&uot;I had a freezer full of stuff.

I had all kinds of meat. Probably about $325 worth and it is all spoiled.&uot;

Norma Purdue said she it sickened her to throw out so much spoiled food.

&uot;Threw so much food away it made me sick to my heart,&uot; she said.

&uot;I’m still cooking outside and cooked as much as I could but couldn’t cook it all.&uot;

Across town just off College Street, Tedo Twisdale was cleaning up her storm-damaged yard.

She got her electricity back on late Sunday, but it was too late to save her food.

She said she lost about $300 in food and meat. When asked what she and her family were doing for food, she was quick to answer.

&uot;We’re doing without until my next pay day,&uot; she said.

&uot;We’ve got some grits and some cans of soup, but that’s it.&uot;

She said she tried in vain to save the food she had frozen.

&uot;We put as much as we could on ice, but with the shortage in ice, it melted quick.&uot;

She said she also felt bad for her employer, Winn-Dixie.

The store had to throw out all of its meat, dairy products and frozen foods.

On Monday, the Advocate contacted Gov. Bob Riley’s office to get some information on how the people could get help.

Scott Adcock, state director of the Emergency Management Agency, said there are several thousand &uot;Meals Ready to Eat&uot; MREs on the way to the county.

On Tuesday, those packs began arriving and distributed around the county.

They can be picked up at the Butler County Fairgrounds or at the Department of Human Resources.

Local DHR director Freda Stevens said if the USDA declares Butler County a disaster, then people who already receive EBT funds can have prorated funds loaded on their cards.

These funds would be enough to get a family by until their next scheduled cycle.

Also, for new applicants, there is a simplified form that needs to be filled out that is being used while the emergency continues.

In the meantime, they are giving out food that people donate at the local DHR office.

The Red Cross was contacted about this situation but did not return calls.

For more information on help DHR can provide, call 382-4400.