Several central Georgia buildings are opening up their doors as people evacuate coastal areas due to Hurricane Matthew. Two Red Cross shelters opened in Macon at the Hephzibah Children’s Home and at the community center in North Macon Park.
North Macon Park opened its doors Thursday morning at 10 a.m., and the first group to arrive was a family of 32 from South Carolina.
“Very eerie, scary, very quiet,” says Sherekia Watson. Watson and her family drove from Beaufort, South Carolina to find a shelter. She says her family saw the North Macon shelter online, and they decided to drive there.
“It's comforting to know that we don’t have to split up, and knowing that we can all stay together,” says Watson. Watson and thirty-one of her relatives took five cars and made the trip to the north Macon red cross shelter. “It was a long strenuous drive,” says Watson’s relative Latesha Goodwin. She was in one of those cars for eight hours, a trip that she says would normally only take four hours.
“Bumper to bumper. 20-minute wait sometimes longer than that,” says Goodwin. Goodwin and Watson say they have comfort knowing they have a safe place to sleep at night. This is a feeling Erika Ambrosio, another evacuee, knows first-hand.
“We were thinking we were going to sleep in the car last night,” says Ambrosio. However, Ambrosio says she and her family spent the night at the red cross shelter at Hephzibah Children's Home.
“We [are] so thankful. We [are] happy here. My daughter said she doesn’t want to leave,” says Ambrosio. She is not the only one feeling thankful for shelter.
“It came at a time when we couldn’t prepare like we needed to, so I’m thankful,” says Watson, “I just pray that when I return home I do have a home to return too.”
The Red Cross spent Thursday morning setting up their dormitory in the North Macon community center. They set up beds across the gym of community center, and brought blankets and hygiene items for the families to use. The Red Cross says they will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner to those who stay at the shelter, and they will provide drinks and snacks 24 hours a day.
The Red Cross says they are asking people with special accommodations, such as medical issues, to go to the shelter at Hephzibah Children’s Home, and for the general public to go to the North Macon Community Center. They say their plan is to stay open through the weekend, but they could be open longer depending on the path of Hurricane Matthew.
Multiple agencies across Central Georgia are offering a place to stay for those needing shelter, fleeing Hurricane Matthew.
Carl Vinson VA Medical Center will begin sheltering Veterans, their families, and staff from outer areas beginning at 5:00 p.m. Thursday.
It's located at 1826 Veteran Blvd.
Priority will be given to Veterans, their families, and VA staff.
For more information, call 478-743-8671.
Dublin High School is offering shelter starting at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Andrew United Methodist Church located at 2430 Hwy 127 is offering shelter also.
Call them at 478-987-7934.
All others should go to North Macon Community Center located at 815 N Macon Park Drive.
GracePoint Church, located at 2675 Gray Highway, is offering shelter, a shower, food, and water. They are accepting people with pets as well.
Peach County Fire Station #6 located at 1770 US Hwy 341 is offering shelter.
Williams Chapel CME, located at 181 N Railroad Street.
You can also go to the Swainsboro Recreation Department for shelter at 632 McLeod Bridge Road.
For more information, visit http://www.redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief-and-recovery/find-an-open-shelter.