Nelson, Rubio serve meals in Glades, talk Irma recovery
BELLE GLADE, Fla. (CBS12) —
As more Glades families found themselves with no place to call home, both of the state’s U.S. Senators stopped in Western Palm Beach County on Wednesday.
Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio have spent the past three days touring the state, surveying damage caused by Hurricane Irma.
Nelson and Rubio helped serve lunches at a massive community feeding at the Goodwill Center in Belle Glade, attended by several hundred.
"My power was off for two days, and there was some issues with food spoilage," said Lisa Hester. "So we're grateful just to have a hot meal."
The Senators said the community meal, provided by Christ Fellowship, Cheney Brothers, and groups of sugar growers, is an example of how Floridians are helping Floridians after Irma.
"There is damage all over the state," said Sen. Nelson. "So we're just urging the federal government, the state government, to assist local government, as quickly as possible on all the needs."
"There are people here that don't have a home to get back to,” said Sen. Rubio. “So we've got to get the FEMA forms in here, and we've been talking to the County already about that."
"We are working right now with FEMA, to try to at least get a mobile unit in, in the meantime,” said County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay. She said the County’s Glades libraries, a logical choice for help centers, were still without power.
Gonzalo and Ermelinda Rodriguez are among residents already seeking from FEMA.
The couple obeyed evacuation orders and left the Glades, only to return and find a large tree had fallen on their mobile home. The tree lodged in the roof, and the home’s frame completely twisted.
Maria Rodriguez, the couple’s daughter, said it was an overwhelming loss.
"I just think about them,” said Maria. “That's the only thing they had. Where (are they) going to go now?"
Elsewhere in Belle Glade, the Red Cross opened a new shelter at the First Baptist Church gymnasium.
Mayor Steve Wilson told CBS12 the first shelter occupants included 25 people whose apartment building had an electrical issue when the power came back on.
Another community feeding was planned for Thursday at the Goodwill Center.
Also, the Palm Beach County School District planned to serve breakfast and lunch on Thursday and Friday, at 27 schools, including Gove Elementary in Belle Glade, and Pahokee Middle School.