70 go to Southampton emergency shelter

Published 11:46 am Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sean Dillard, 13, of Courtland, left, and Kayla Waff, 20, of Franklin hang out at the emergency shelter at Southampton High School. -- Gwen Albers | Tidewater News

COURTLAND—For Kayla Waff, 20, of Franklin, spending the night at the Southampton High School emergency shelter was like a big slumber party.

“It was fun because everybody is here,” said Waff, whose home lies in an area that’s prone to flooding. “We had a good dinner, a good breakfast. As far as army cots, they weren’t so good.”

Since opening the shelter at 7 p.m. Friday, about 70 people have checked in said Shelter Manger Donna Blythe, social work supervisor for Southampton County. About 50 showed on Friday evening.

The shelter is concentrated in the cafeteria and gym, where there are 200 cots, Blythe said. Operated by the American Red Cross, the shelter provides three meals a day and has a generator.

Lois Cousins was among the first to arrive at the shelter at 6:45 p.m. Friday.

“I felt it would be safer here,” said Cousins, who lives alone in Drewryville. “I live in an old house and have diabetes.

The 69-year-old spent her time watching television, visiting, reading and doing crossword puzzles.

David Ivey of Courtland arrived at the shelter at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The 60-year-old felt safe at home, but thought it would be nice to be around other people.

“I said, ‘let’s go check it out,’” Ivey told his wife.

They planned to spend Saturday night there.

Sean Dillard, 13, of Courtland also spent Friday night at the shelter. He arrived at about 10:30.

“We have lots of trees in our yard and I wanted to be safe,” Dillard said.

“He’s been entertaining us,” Waff added. “He puts on a show and dances.”

Ruth Brown, 82, of Capron spent Friday night at the shelter with her cousin.

“To be safe,” Brown said. “I live by myself.”