Community House offering relief for islanders
As of Wednesday, the Community House had electricity, enabling the center to open its doors to provide relief air conditioning and use of the Internet Thursday, Sept. 14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We have air and Internet,” Executive Director Teresa Riska-Hall said, adding, “we don’t have any food, and aren’t ready to do food yet. It’s a place for you to sit and cool off. I might make some coffee in the morning, but I don’t have a lot of water on hand.”
She had all of her staff out of the Community House by noon on Wednesday, Sept. 6, to prepare for Hurricane Irma. Riska-Hall said she did not want them out on the road if they did not have to be.
“Everybody could get home and get their houses done,” she said of closing the Community House.
After assessing the damage, Riska-Hall said there were quite a few shingles down on the older buildings. She said the two smaller buildings did better than the garage and the shed up front, which houses all the signs and fencing.
“We had leaks a month ago when we had the heavy storm. Things had not been clamped up tight enough in the auditorium. There was a small problem where the women’s restrooms are,” she said, adding that storm helped them fix minor things before Hurricane Irma hit.
The hurricane also caused quite a few downed trees, which now need to be staked . Although she has contacted her landscaping crew, she said they did not know when they could get to them to fix everything.
“I’m really happy that everyone seems to have survived well. The trees and landscape can be replaced,” Riska-Hall said, adding that the fact that the hurricane downgraded in category “was a true blessing.”
By next week, she said yoga will kick back in, as well as the shell crafters.
The food classes and workshops, Riska-Hall said, will probably not be up and running for a couple of weeks, due to food not being delivered.
“You know, I really love this community. It is often when we are hardest hit that family and the sense of community here on the islands makes it a whole lot easier! People helping people is what it’s all about,” Riska-Hall said.