Haven Ministries opens shelter
Haven Ministries offers a way to ‘fill the gap’ while Kent Islanders get back on their feet
Haven Ministries opened a disaster relief shelter Friday, July 28, in response to citizens needing longer term shelter after the tornado.
STEVENSVILLE — Haven Ministries opened a disaster relief shelter at 11 a.m. Friday, July 28, in response to citizens needing longer-term shelter after the tornado.
The shelter will be open around the clock until 7:30 a.m. Monday, July 31, at its designated space in Kent Island United Methodist Church in Chester.
Haven Ministries Executive Director Krista Pettit said the shelter anticipated two or three individuals needing a temporary space and possibly two to three families. As during the winter, the shelter can accommodate 15 individuals with the current sleeping arrangements in place.
Pettit said the shelter is offering is a way to “fill the gap” for those displaced by the tornado that damaged homes on Kent Island.
For some, insurance for shortterm hotel stays has run out, she said. Others still may be waiting for claims to provide rental money, and in one instance, Pettit said, a person whose home was still standing was inspected and condemned.
Startin Monday, July 31, the shelter will be open 5 p.m. to 7:30 a.m., with transportation services from the shelter to the resource center at St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Centreville for daytime services (and back again).
As the week progresses, Petitt said, organizers will assess the need to determine how long the location will remain open as a disaster relief shelter.
Haven Ministries encourages anyone in need of shelter to go to the second floor at Kent Island United Methodist Church, 2739 Cox Neck Road in Chester, when the shelter is open. The phone number to reach the shelter is 410739-7859.
On Thursday, July 27, the first day the Red Cross Crisis Response Center was open at Matapeake Elementary, Sen. Steve Hershey and Del. Jeff Ghrist, both R-36, stopped to speak with aid workers and victims of the tornado.
The two took time to reassure those left with damage from the storm that all agencies were working together closely and quickly to resolve the damage caused by the storm and safely see people back in their homes.
Gus Peckaitis, a resident affected by the storm, shared with Hershey and Ghrist his personal experience. Peckaitis said many neighbors he and his wife did not even know had responded with offers of food and shelter. Home Depot volunteers showed up at Peckaitis’ home less than 24 hours after a phone call was made to offer to help veterans or fire department members in need. Pecakaitis is both, he said.
Pecakaitis also praised the quick response of the local fire departments.
“Within 20 minutes of the storm hitting, it seemed like every fire department within a 50-mile radius had responded,” he said, adding his neighborhood, “looked like a war zone at the time.”
Peckaitis and his wife lost a 12foot section out of the side of their home, and multiple vehicles were lost due to fallen trees. They were at the relief center to see what resources were available, they said.
Anyone needing food, clothing, household cleaning supplies or hygiene products can see one of Haven Ministries’ volunteers or staff at the Red Cross Crisis Response Center at Matapeake Elementary School, operational until Thursday, Aug. 3, or call 410-739-4363.
The Animal Welfare League also is offering food for pets affected by the storm and other supplies, such as leashes.
The Red Cross and county agencies, including the Department of Social Services, Animal Control and Animal Welfare League, Sheriff’s Office, Department of Health and a representative from planning and zoning, are all available to meet with anyone who may have been affected by the storm. These services, along with representatives from Allstate, Nationwide, State Farm, Erie and USAA insurance, are available onsite at Matapeake Elementary School.
The center is open noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
For more information, go to www. qac.org or call 410-758-4500.
Efforts continue Thursday, July 27, to remove debris from the community of Bay City.
Jesus Carrillo, Red Cross Volunteer, assists at Matapeake Elementary.