North Adams Transcript
WILLIAMSTOWN - As town officials continue to address the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, local churches, organizations and even a Williams College sports team are stepping up to help those impacted by flooding at The Spruces Mobile Home Park.
The First Congregational Church - United Church of Christ is working to address the immediate needs of displaced residents for gas, food and places to stay.
"We've been helping as we can," The Rev. Carrie Bail said Tuesday afternoon. "We have an emergency voucher program for people who need gas, food or shelter for one night, but it's not really intended to address long-term emergency issues.
With that in mind, she and church secretary, Gail Burns, have begun compiling a list of people who have extra rooms in their homes or available apartments in hopes that having that information may be part of a long-term solution down the road, she said.
Two hundred and seventy-three people have been displaced after flood waters turned The Spruces into a lake during Tropical Storm Irene on Sunday.
While the water receded Monday morning, the park has been deemed uninhabitable until further notice by Building Commissioner Michael J. Card.
On Tuesday morning, Card, and Building Inspector Ryan A. Contenta began the task of inspecting each home to evaluate the amount of damage.
"We're just trying get a handle on things," Card said.
Town Clerk Mary C. Kennedy said Tuesday night town officials were putting together a daily newsletter to inform Spruces' residents about what was going on.
In addition, an official with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency had arrived to help town officials in addressing the situation, she said.
While the American Red Cross set up a shelter at St. John's Episcopal Church on Park Street Monday night, five residents with eight pets slept in the Selectmen's meeting room and in two meeting rooms on the third floor of Town Hall.
Four of those people would spend Tuesday night sleeping at the municipal building, Kennedy said.
The Red Cross is providing support for the people staying at Town Hall, but can't shelter them with their pets at St. John's because of sanitary reasons, the agency said.
Carol DeMayo, director of the Williamstown Food Pantry at St. Patrick and Raphael Parish on Southworth Street, said the food pantry would open at 1 p.m. on Wednesday for about an hour and a half to two hours for any residents impacted by flooding that needed food and personal items. She said people who can't make it at that time can call the church at 413-458-4946 ext. 11.
Members of the Williams College football team were at The Spruces on Tuesday morning to help collect loose petroleum cans and pull skirts off homes so they could be inspected.
Senior Tyler Cole said helping the community during this devastating natural disaster is important.
""They support us through our season, and hopefully we can support them in their time of need," he said.