Even though PPL has restored power to the majority of those affected by last week's power outage, many homes are still struggling without power. Knowing this, volunteers and soldiers with the Tamaqua Salvation Army and Schuylkill Haven Army Reserve unit spent the last three days going door-to-door providing hot meals and refreshments to homes still affected by last week's power outage.
Long power cables could be seen stretching across Edgemont Avenue in Palmerton as neighbors helped each other by providing power to neighbors across the street.
"It is very stressful living without power for so long," said Palmerton resident Jennifer Muthard of Edgemont Avenue, "One of the hardest things was not knowing what was going on. You think somebody would have come and told everyone living on our two blocks (about 30 homes) what was going on or at least checked up on us, as we were the only blocks in Palmerton without power for six days. We were lucky - we had families to go to. What about the ones that don't?"
"We were extremely grateful to the Tamaqua Salvation Army and Schuylkill Haven Army Reserve for thinking about us during these cold times."
In all, over 500 hot meals and refreshments were served to homes in eastern Schuylkill County and parts of Carbon County.
In addition to delivering hot meals, the Tamaqua Salvation Army opened their doors 24 hours everyday to anybody wanting the get out of the cold, enjoy a hot meal or simply to sleep.
"The packed laundromats were just one of the hardships," added Muthard. "We both have jobs, and cannot afford a generator, especially having kids."
"All we could do was keep calling and hope for the power to go on," said Lisa Anthony, also of Edgemont Avenue. "Everyone on our block appreciated PPL's hard work, just wish we knew what was going on."
As of 10 a.m. today, PPL's website listed 5,091 customers in 29 eastern Pennsylvania counties still without power. Counties still affected are Lehigh (1,517 customers), Bucks (1,370 customers), Northampton (694), Montgomery (465 customers), Wayne (340 customers), Pike (333 customers), Carbon (186 customers), Monroe (165 customers). Schuylkill County only had six customers without power.
"We are surviving with a coal stove in our garage," said Jean and Dale Doll of Lower Towamensing. "We had to throw away over $500 worth of rotten food from our refrigerator and freezer." They added their appreciation to the volunteers and soldiers for bringing a hot meal. "We can't say enough," added the Dolls.
"We are extremely grateful to SSG Amanda Kerr and her Schuylkill Haven Army Reserve soldiers for helping us help so many families," said Tamaqua Salvation Army Major Sharon Whispell.
"We used all our rent money to pay for fuel for our generator. Plus, we couldn't go anywhere, as all the local shelters (fire house and ambulance hall) were full," said Nancy Rausch of Palmerton, who's son requires power for a nebulizer. "Thank God the Salvation Army and soldiers came or we would still be hungry."