This morning we brought some supplies to eight shelters in Broward county. The food was already in place, but we brought some blankets, first-aid supplies, and toys and games for the kids. Since then I’ve been at a shelter at Arthur Ashe Middle School. I’m spending the night here to help out. There are not as many volunteers as they were hoping for.
Fortunately it looks like this storm is fizzling out. We haven’t even had much rain yet. It looks like there’s going to be a bit more coming later tonight, but probably not any major wind. We’ve had a couple hundred people come in to the shelter. Families are in one gymnasium and single men and women are in another. There are a 12-18 police here at any time. This school is in one of the least affluent areas of the county. The people have been great so far. It’s got to make it easier that they know they’re going home tomorrow and that the storm isn’t a major one. The kids are having fun and their parents are waiting it out. The homeless people are less comfortable because they didn’t have blankets and mattresses to bring with them.
One of the volunteers here spent six weeks running a shelter for 5000 people after Katrina. I can’t imagine being stuck somewhere with that many people for that long. He had almost no help and there were only a couple of police there at a time. That sounds like a seriously lousy way to spend your vacation. Some of the kids here were telling me that they spent 4 weeks in this gymnasium during and after Wilma last year. They were eventually relocated because of flooding–water was coming in under the doors. The gym has a tile floor probably with this in mind.
Dinner tonight was goulash, garlic bread, canned peaches and milk. And it was good. We had sporks. There’s nothing like eating goulash and peaches with a spork to make you feel like a refugee.
I’m going to try to get some sleep tonight at some point and then help shut down the shelter tomorrow morning. After that I’ll be free to wait around until my flight on Saturday. If I can get an earlier one I think I’ll try, but I don’t expect there will be flights until Thursday at the earliest.
I can’t tell you how great it is to have Internet access during this thing.