Hungry Ivan victims to receive help

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 21, 2004

An icebox full of food isn’t much good when the power goes out for days.

The prolonged power outage after Hurricane Ivan has left some area families in a pinch when it comes to food.

The Dallas County Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Human Resources can help.

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The EMA will receive a truckload of 21,000 military-type MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) today and will distribute them to families in need.

“If you’ve lost your food and you have no way of going to the grocery store and purchasing food, then come out

here and we’ll try and give you enough food to try and get you by tomorrow,” EMA Director Brett Howard said.

The MRE’s will be distributed in the Food World parking lot, but Howard was unable to give a specific time.

“The distribution time not known yet because we don’t know when the truck is to get here. My goal is to half the truck in the morning and half the truck when people get off work,” Howard said. “It may be logistically impossible but that’s what we should do because some people that can’t get there in the morning can get there in the afternoon.”

Howard said the EMA will take the MRE deliveries on an as needed basis.

“Tomorrow, if needed, I will order another truck to be delivered Thursday,” he said. “We’re going to do this food distribution one day at a time.

I can’t give you enough to last a week, but I can give you three meals for tomorrow.”

The 21,000 meals are enough to give 7,000 area residents three meals for the day.

“That’s a lot of people,” Howard said.

Howard also said that people seeking food assistance should contact the county DHR according to a message from Governor Bob Riley’s office.

A DHR press release said arrangements are being made to address the food needs of victims of Ivan.

“We have contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which sets the guidelines for the nation’s Food Stamp Program.

The USDA officials have assured us that they will assist Alabama disaster victims,” said Dr. Page Walley. “We are in the process of gathering the federally required information needed for victims in the affected areas.”

Waller said that citizens should not go to the food stamp office to apply for benefits.

Disaster victims should listen to their local media for further details.

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. is urging Selmians to be patient, reminding them that though Selma was hit hard, other areas were hit


“As the state attends to areas and communities that have been totally destroyed, Mayor Perkins asks that neighbors help their neighbors and family members help each other, until the state can respond to our situation,” a city press release stated. “He further asks that citizens of Selma continue to be patient.”

For questions regarding food assistance, call the DHR at 874-1400.

If unable to get through to the county office, residents should call the DHR’s PACT Unit at 888-658-6585.