05/01/2011 Hayes Center open to a flood victims
CARBONDALE - As of Saturday there were 22 flood victims at the Eurma C. Hayes Center with 30 more coming for dinner and more on their way looking for a place to stay.
But as long as people need a place to stay, center president and CEO Jim Scales said they will find it. The center is using just about all of its available space to house people who have evacuated from flood conditions in Cairo. The center is set up with makeshift living areas in old health center rooms. Scales said that the center is about to max out on available rooms but will have cots set up.
Getting supplies and food for the victims has been made possible through community response. Scales said civic organizations such as the Carbondale Women's Center and Good Samari-tan House have donated supplies and individuals have brought in food, toiletries and clothing.
"We have had a tremendous community turnout," Scales said.
Scales said the center will continue to house people until they can get back to their homes. He said providing the service is something he has always wanted to see the center do.
"We had envisioned do-ing this, we just hadn't envisioned doing it so soon," Scales said.
He said he is not accepting any money from the people staying at the center because they will need it much more. Della Woodson of Cairo wanted to give back to the center so she spends time tidying up and sweeping the floors.
Scales said many of the people there offer to do whatever work they can to repay the center by cook-ing and cleaning.
"(The center's staff) has been fabulous," Woodson said. "We clean and do what we can because they won't take any money from us."
Woodson has been at the center for two days with members of her family. She said they stayed at a hotel for two days but ran out of money and headed back to Cairo. That's when they heard about the shelter at the Eurma Hayes center and came back to Carbondale. She said she has no idea what condition her home is in but feels better knowing she has a place for her and her family to stay. She said having the Eurma Hayes Center is a blessing.
"It's nothing but God who brought us here," Woodson said.
Emergency Event AIC20110427