Local Shelter Available at Trinity Presbyterian
The shelter has 21 cots and room for more. The facility is expected to be temporary, with people moving to other county shelters if they need to be out of their home for more an extended period of time.
There are about 25 to 30 people ready and prepared to help people at the only local shelter in the immediate area, the Trinity Presbyterian Church on Cranbury Road.
The shelter was opened Sunday evening, and even with mandatory evacuations of Main Street from River Road to Old Bridge Turnpike; Squire Street; Emerson Street; Oak Street; River Road up to Millman Drive; Millman Drive; Jernee Drive; Cornell Drive; and portions of Addington Court, just three people were ion it last this morning.
“We have cots for 21 people, but that doesn’t mean we can only hold 21 people,” said Bob Sullivan, a member of the church's Disaster Relief Team, which includes about 40 volunteers. “We can handle many more, up to the capacity of the building.”
The facility is open to people who needed it and is manned by volunteers and a police officer. Red Cross staff members also are expected to work at the facility. The shelter is meant to be temporary, with people possibly moving to shelters in Old Bridge and Woodbridge as needed.
In preparation of Hurricane Sandy, Middlesex County announced a State of Emergency on Sunday afternoon. The county also opened two county shelters—the Old Bridge Shelter, Carl Sandburg School, 3439 Route 516, and the Woodbridge Shelter, Woodbridge Community Center, 600 Main St.
This morning, just three people, a mother and two children, were at the shelter, said Sullivan. The family came after realizing that while they weren’t in a flood zone, they were surrounded by one and could be cut off and unable to leave during the storm.
The Trinity Presbyterian shelter will accept pets, but they have to be caged. Volunteer Tom Bonomolo recommends that people who come to the shelter bring things to make them comfortable, including snacks and non-perishable food. There is a limited kitchen area at the shelter as well as food, but more can always be used.
In addition, if you are on medication bring enough for at least seven days, health insurance cards, and other important documents you don’t want to lose, said Bonomolo. If you bring your car to shelter, Bonomolo recommends filling it with possessions you don’t want to lose if your home is flooded.
While turnout is low now, Sullivan expects that to change. He said people from Helmetta, Milltown and other nearby areas could make their way to the shelter before the storm is through.
“We’re not used to surviving without electricity and the amenities we all grew up with,” said Sullivan. “Just come, we will be here to help you.”
The Trinity Presbyterian Church is located at 367 Cranbury Road (next to Central School). This shelter will open at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28.