CHARLESTON, W.Va. – In times of crisis, West Virginians say they don’t have took far for help. That’s been the case since the do-not-use water order was issued Thursday.
Along with state and FEMA officials providing water for those in the nine impacted counties, private individuals, businesses and organizations have stepped up as well.
This weekend the non-profit Americans for Prosperity’s West Virginia chapter set up tents and a drive-thru in the Columbia Natural Gas parking lot. The group paid for a truckload of bottled water that was handed out.
“What better way to help people than to give them water? They need this,” said Wendy McCuskey, a member of the non-profit.
On Saturday, volunteers handed out more than 2,500 cases of water. As of early Sunday afternoon, they’d given away an additional 1,000 gallon jugs and more than 500 cases of water.
“This is West Virginians helping each other. That’s what we’re all about,” McCuskey said.
In downtown Charleston on Virginia Street, partners at the law firm Mani, Ellis & Layne purchased 250 cases of water, which they passed it out to those who drove by.
John Mani said it didn’t take long for people to start pulling up.
“It’s been a steady flow since 2 p.m.—a half hour before it was even supposed to start,” he said.
The partners picked up the water in Clarksburg and drove it back to Charleston.
“Everyone keeps asking, ‘Do I have to pay for this? Do I have to give a donation?'” Mani said. “No. Please take the water and pay it forward.”
Even individuals were in the giving spirit. Ronny Callender, of Charleston, had six cases of water to start the weekend. However, four of those went to elderly members of his church who didn’t have any. Callender stopped by the Charleston Boys and Girls Club Sunday afternoon to get more water for his family.
“It’s been hard but it seems like everybody I’ve seen has been so nice. West Virginia people are always nice and this just proves it,” he said.