Food and Conversation Comfort Parkersburg Tornado Victims

By Mark Geary, Reporter

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By Mark Geary

PARKERSBURG -- The Parkersburg American Legion has become a place to escape the destruction and share a meal and conversation with friends.

On Tuesday, volunteers served 4,000 free meals.

"We're just here to give them hugs and food and to let them know that they're going to be okay. That's what is important," volunteer Chris Schrage said.

Electricity still isn't available in much of the town, so the American Legion is one of the only places to get a hot meal.

"We'd have to eat cold bologna sandwiches. You can only eat so many of those," Parkersburg resident Cam Coy said.

Unexpected donations of everything from pizza to potato salad keep the kitchen stocked around the clock.

"We'd run out of sodas and stuff ... And then today all of a sudden somebody would pull up with the back of a truck full of sodas," Schrage said.

It's not just about the food and drinks though, the place is also a reminder of what small town life used to be like before the tornado hit.

"You get to talking to people and asking how their house is, and it seems like they're really interested to know how things are going," community member Huntter Walter said.

Parkersburg resident Ana Smith said, "Sometimes I'm not even hungry, I just come here for the fellowship with the other people.">

Home cooking and hugs can't bring anyone's homes back, but they can make a horrific situation a little more comforting, even it is only for a little while.

The American Legion will keep serving meals until at least Sunday.

If you'd like to donate food or drinks, let them know you're coming and they'll tell you the best time to drop it off.

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