First Tornado, Then Heat – What’s Next?

SPRINGFIELD, MA (June 13, 2011) – For the second time in less than two weeks, the Evangelical Covenant Church has been helping local residents trying to cope with weather that has killed several people in the area.

The church opened its doors last Wednesday to serve as one of the city’s cooling centers, allowing people to seek relief from blistering heat that reached nearly 100 degrees.

Even as the church became a shelter for people stricken by the heat, the utility company continued to use the parking lot as a staging area for crews restoring power in the aftermath of the deadly tornado that struck June 1.

The church also has become a location where people can donate clothing that will be distributed to tornado victims. An Associated Press photo of pastor Mike Mirakian looking over the donations was used by media around the world.

As survivors sought clothing vouchers, diapers and other supplies, volunteers pressed cold water on them because many still lack electricity and thus refrigeration. Fire trucks passed out cases of water in addition to tarps for patching roofs.

Meanwhile huge trees that once would have provided shade were still being removed from where they had been slammed to the ground by the tornado.

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