After opening community buildings up for water and food distribution following Superstorm Sandy, officials said Barbour County is working on creating a permanent centralized shelter, pending funding.
The proposed shelter will be large enough to house and feed many people, according to Cindy Hart, the interim director of the county's Office of Emergency Management. The proposed location for the shelter will be the Barbour County Fairgrounds.
Thirty homes throughout Barbour County were still without power more than two weeks after Superstorm Sandy swept through the area, Hart said.
Infrastructure needs to be rebuilt, and officials have been working continuously since the storm to restore power, she said. Water is still available for residents in need by calling the Office of Emergency Management at 304-457-5167.
Hart said the destructive wind storm that struck the area in June was shorter-lived with hotter temperatures, but Sandy left many in the cold without power for nine to 14 days.
"We're getting ice three months ago to give out to people, and we're getting blankets three months later to give out to people," Hart said, adding that no estimation of storm damage costs is available at this time.
However, it wasn't just emergency officials who stepped up to help during the storm.
"This time I had good volunteers in the OEM," Hart said. "Everybody worked together. Everybody knew what was expected, and everybody worked very, very well together."
Barbour County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joseph Super said that community members stepped up to help, and some students even worked in the shelters. Super said the way people stepped forward helped the county to better cope in a difficult situation.
"There was an awful lot done here by people just offering to help, not being asked," Super said.
Barbour County Schools also donated food to shelters. With food at risk of spoiling without power, the school system also sought help from outside the county to reduce food loss.
Super said during a school board meeting last week that the Lewis County school system allowed for the storage of some of the food. Super said he was thankful for the help from Lewis County.
Barbour County schools are still working on a storm loss estimation.
"The community rallied. They really, really rallied. People stepped up, and it's really a tribute to the community," Super said.