The Salvation Army sent a mobile kitchen Tuesday to Eastover, a town in Lower Richland County where washed-out roads made moving around difficult.
The meal services will continue Wednesday, a spokesperson for the charity said.
Eastover residents said the weekend’s heavy rainfall and flooding left them without power, causing food to spoil. The closest grocery store is on Garners Ferry Road, near Lower Richland High School – an impossible trip for residents who have no transportation, said Eastover Councilwoman Rhudine Robinson.
Old Eastover Road was washed out after a private dam failed. A tree also fell in the roadway, blocking traffic on the main thoroughfare between Columbia and the town.
A group from Florence brought clothing and water Monday to Eastover, said town Councilwoman Robinson.
Town Mayor Geraldene Robinson said the challenge now is ensuring residents know food and water is available to them and getting the provisions to them if they cannot get to Eastover Park.
The Salvation Army had plans Tuesday to serve lunch and dinner in Eastover, said Shelley Henderson, spokesperson for the charity in the Carolinas. S.C. Baptist Disaster Relief is cooking the food, she said.
However, plans to reach Gadsden, another Lower Richland town, had to be abandoned.
The charity also has water and food being served in Georgetown at the Beck Recreation Center, in emergency operations centers in Orangeburg and Sumter, and at a shelter in Clarendon County’s Manning.
Some of the chatter from residents around the meal truck at midday Tuesday focused on how — if possible — to get to Gadsden from Eastover, given the road failures. Bluff Road, east of Gadsden, was washed out in a flood.
Melissa and Tyler Webber live about a football field’s distance from where floodwaters destroyed the road’s asphalt. Floodwaters did not reach their home on higher ground.
But Melissa Webber said her niece, brother and their families have houses in a low-lying area on the other side of the gaping hole left in Bluff Road by the flood waters. As their homes filled with water Sunday, those family members were airlifted to safety, Webber said.
But that only happened after another emergency unfolded.
After a firefighter, trying to reach her family members, was swept away in the flood, Webber said she called 911. Other firefighters tried to reach their comrade with a boat but couldn’t, she said, adding neighbors walked toward where the firefighter was swept and called out to him.
“They heard him call back,” she said, adding the neighbors told the other firefighters. “(T)hey were able to find him still hanging onto a tree and hanging onto life, so that was a blessing.”
Reach Self at (803) 771-8658