More than 400 cots and as many sandwiches and bottles of water sit ready for service at the shelter at Glen Cove High School as many city residents prepare to continue without power through next week.
Red Cross volunteer Claudia Kelly, who came from a suburb of Minneapolis, Minn. to help, said people were streaming in earlier in the week to charge cell phones, have coffee and get some respite from the quiet loneliness of their homes.
"Sometimes there are fluctuations because people tough it out for a while and then they can't take it anymore," she said.
The most the shelter had at once was 18, Kelly said. Several seniors arrived Wednesday night after a Glen Cove Senior Center bus brought them from the cold darkness of their apartment building on Butler Street.
The Center's executive director, Carol Waldman, said circulation issues are a concern for seniors without power and heat, and that many need food to take their medications with. As that runs out, the shelter is a warm place to go where they are provided for and not stuck in pitch blackness.
"They're coping as well as they can," Waldman said. "People are scared. They feel disconnected from the rest of the world. When the lights go out, people feel cut off."
Glen Cove EMS chief Matt Venturino said volunteers gathered at the Glen Cove Volunteer Fire Department Wednesday evening and proceeded to the Butler Street apartments to ring every bell and offer elderly residents a ride to the shelter.
Waldman said seniors she had spoken with are in "good spirits" knowing that they are cared about, and she expressed gratitude to the city's mayor, fire department volunteers and medical personnel for their attention.
Sandwiches, snacks, hot coffee and water bottles are available, as well as company and entertainment. A movie played on a projection screen as volunteers registered new arrivals Wednesday.
Editor's Note: The shelter was closed Friday morning but reopened Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. It is now being operated independently by the City of Glen Cove, which is coordinating with the Red Cross. All supplies mentioned remain there, the city said.
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