Help available during outages

By: Gloria Beverage, Colfax Record Editor
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Only two individuals requested emergency assistance during last week’s power outages, reported Donna Barkle, coordinator of the Colfax Kiwanis’ Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP). “One man was sent to the hospital in an ambulance,” she said. “Thankfully, nobody else was in dire need.” Founded in 2009, the voluntary program ensures that residents with special needs receive emergency assistance in the event of lengthy power outages, or during severe storms or other disasters. The database that Barkle developed now serves as the foundation of an emergency assistance program in the community. Prepared meals, water, propane, firewood or stove pellets can be delivered to residents able to stay in their homes, Barkle said. Oxygen can also be provided to those who need it. . While the fire consumed Giovanni’s Restaurant last month, residents of Shady Glen were without propane and power for several hours. Eight individuals living in the park received assistance through the SNAP Program, Barkle continued. “We’ve provided $500 worth of food in the last three weeks and filled two propane tanks,” she said. The program was initiated after a heavy snowstorm and extended power outage in 2007 left many elderly and disabled Colfax residents stranded. Barkle, working with members of the Colfax Kiwanis Club, spearheaded an informal survey of individuals with special needs or health issues who would need emergency response assistance in the event of a disaster. One of the key elements of the program is the establishment of either warming or cooling centers in the community by the Office of Emergency Services, the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. Volunteers would staff the centers as well as transport individuals to the centers. Information provided by individuals is kept confidential and updated quarterly. . For more information on SNAP or to get a survey form, call Barkle at 368-0776. _______ Special Needs Assistance Program What: A database of information Where: Open to residents of the greater Colfax area When: To assist elderly and disabled in the event of disaster To apply, call 368-0776