Relief groups in St. Louis are planning to distribute 50,000 meals this week in the wake of severe storms, power outages and a heat wave that struck in quick succession earlier this month.
Thousands of people are still coping with the aftermath of a disaster that has left the headlines.
The Salvation Army - partnering with local churches, the United Way and an organization called Compassion Alliance - is preparing to distribute 50,000 meals this week, said Major Joseph Wheeler, divisional secretary for programs with the St. Louis chapter of The Salvation Army.
Though all shelters have been able to close, it will take people six to eight weeks to recover, pointed out Wheeler.
Many people lost their food and their medications that perished because they required refrigeration. "We understand that the storm not only put people in need during the power outages but many have lost a tremendous amount of food because of the power outages. They've lost time off of work, too," he said.
Power has been restored to nearly all customers, and so it's difficult for national disaster response groups to catch the eye of the public on behalf of St. Louis residents, reported responders. "The photos aren't as compelling but it still affects a lot of people," said Evie Polsley, spokesperson for the midwest region of The Salvation Army.
Responders urged people not to send material donations to St. Louis. Instead, the best way to help is to contribute cash to a faith-based disaster response group or local church that is responding.
The National Guard was deployed for a week helping to clear debris and assist people burdened by the heat and the power outage. Guard members distributed more than 8,500 gallons of water.
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