LAWRENCE (CBS) — Multiple shelters have popped up across Merrimack Valley to keep residents who can not go home safe. Thousands across South Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover were evacuated Thursday after dozens of explosions and fires destroyed homes, leaving dozens injured and one dead.
How can you help:
The Red Cross asks anyone who wishes to donate supplies to reach out to their organization first instead of just bringing the supplies directly to the evacuation centers. They said they do not have the storage for them. Instead, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
You can also assist with a financial donation by calling 1-800- RED-CROSS or texting RedCross to 90999 to make a $10 donation via text.
Restaurants or food/water vendors looking to donate perishable food supplies should contact the Red Cross at 1-800-564-1234.
The Red Cross has four centers: Parthum Elementary School in Lawrence, Arlington School in Lawrence, Field House at North Andover High School, and Andover Cormier Youth Center.
Over 200 cots are set up at the Arlington School shelter alone.
“First time I’ve ever been in a shelter so it’s all new to me,” said Celia Monty. “The pillows came in today, I’m happy so I’ll have a good sleep tonight.”
She explained that she will not forget about the incident soon, though. “I’m a little worried when I go home. It’s going to be on your mind, like hey, what’s going to happen?”
Other centers have been arranged by town governments. These include St. Mary’s Church in Lawrence, Central Catholic High School in Lawrence and the Lawrence Senior Center.
The town of Lawrence tweeted that “desperately needed items include: hand sanitizers, alcohol pads, socks, underwear for kids and adults, blankets, toiletries, feminine products, toilet paper, towels!” Those items, along with Ziploc bags, can specifically be delivered to the Lawrence Senior Center.
The senior center was bustling on Friday afternoon as donations came in. Joe Boghos from Joesph’s Bakery was among them.
“We’re donating about 10,000 packages of pita bread, flatbread, different types of bread that we made for families here,” he said. “We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do and you ask questions later. Here to support the community.”
According to North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor, there is actually an “abundance of food” at the North Andover High School shelter and they do not need any more food donations.
About 120 people and their pets spent Thursday night at North Andover High School’s Field House.
They woke up to donuts from Smolak Farms. “We’ve got lots of donuts and it’s about these poor people, it’s not about us or the business, it’s making sure they get what they need. This is horrible,” said the man delivering them.
Pets have not been forgotten either. Anyone in need of pet food can go to the MSPCA at Nevin’s Farm for help.