On Saturday, Rachel Barnhart took her volunteers to the JOSANA neighborhood. The group opted not to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade because of chilly temperatures and the crisis related to the windstorm. Much of the JOSANA neighborhood was without power.
The team went door to door carrying snacks and hand warmers. They found families trying to keep warm in running cars. Some people needed food, as theirs went bad and nearby mini-marts had no power. More than a few residents said they wouldn’t go to a shelter because they feared looters. One family admitted to dangerously heating the house with a stove.
The residents were resilient. Yet, some remarked no one had come by to check on them and they had little information about when power would be restored. This effort showed the importance of checking on vulnerable populations, something that had not been coordinated by the city.
“Emergency planning, good communication and leadership are important in situations such as last week’s windstorm,” Barnhart said. “Visiting neighbors in JOSANA reinforced the city needs a better approach to emergency management.”
Barnhart and her volunteers would like to thank JOSANA residents for sharing their experiences with us. They are also grateful to the emergency responders and utility workers for their incredibly hard work in recovery efforts.