By Dick Placzek
Independent Staff Writer
With operations in full swing, the American Red Cross opened a service center Friday for victims of the Grand Island tornadoes.
The location at Trinity United Methodist Church at Fifth and Elm Streets, will be open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Persons wishing assistance from the service need to go through a personal interview at the center and then will be given a disbursing order to purchase valuable materials needed to repair and replace.
The disaster assistance provided by the Red Cross Service Center is free. Victims can purchase materials for his or her own need with the disbursing order.
In addition to the newly opened service center, the Red Cross Headquarters located at Walnut Junior High and the First Presbyterian Church have served 11,000 meals since the storm broke Tuesday night, according to Debbie Daley.
Chuck Black, also with the Red Cross, said residents are donating food and clothing and victims have been streaming into the headquarters at feeding times to grab hot, nutritious meals.
Black said Monfort has donated a semi-trailer packed with meat in back of the Walnut headquarters.
Meals include almost every type of food available ranging from steak, roast beef, fresh fruit and vegetables to bulk spaghetti. Breakfast is served at 8 a.m., lunch at 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and supper from 5-7 p.m.
Black said few people are spending nights at the shelters but the Red Cross expects meal numbers to increase substantially within the next week. Thursday more than 2,500 meals were served for supper.
Daley said the meals are being cooked at both headquarters and a nursing director is working with cooks and meal prepares to provide the most nutritious meals available.
Besides meals at the two headquarters, 14 Red Cross feeding vans are going around the damaged areas providing sandwiches and refreshments to victims and workers.
As of Thursday noon, Daley said, more than 300 volunteers have registered with the Red Cross but she anticipates more than 1,000 have offered.