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Gloucester shelter helping out after 21 Northumberland Co. residents displaced by windstorm

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GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) – After this weekend’s windstorm, one community is helping out another.

A shelter in Gloucester County is taking in nearly two dozen people from a damaged apartment building in Northumberland County, which has put a strain on it.

21 people were forced to leave their homes without any warning Friday afternoon because the wind ripped the roof off of their apartment building.

“We’re all misplaced,” said resident Bonnie Dudash, who lived in the Callao Apartments for 10 years.  “When we saw it, we were just shocked.”

Now, with barely anything they own, they’re hoping life will one day get back to normal.

“It was very scary.  Never in my life have I been through anything like it,” Dudash said.  “I was standing outside, the wind picked up again and what was left of the roof, you could see it just lift straight up and fold in half.”

Now, she’s one of the 21 residents staying with GUEST: Gloucester United Emergency Shelter Team.

“We’re not going to close our doors to them,” said Executive Director and Chaplain John Seltzer.  “Our immediate response was not ‘what can we do?.’ It was ‘how many can we take in?’.”

GUEST is a shelter that operates during the winter months and uses a network of churches.  Seltzer says they learned about the displaced residents Saturday morning.  The 21 people they took in nearly tripled their capacity — and as a non-profit — tripled their need for donations.

Seltzer said, “The greatest need we have now is finding out when these people will be able to go back home and making sure we have the financial support to maintain these individuals.”

Seltzer is working with Northumberland County officials to figure out if and when these residents can return.

“We all want to go home,” Dudash said.  “We want to go back to our apartments.”

For now, they are leaning on each other, as their waiting continues.

Dudash said, “We don’t know what’s there.  Did we lose everything? Did we lose anything?”

The organization is updating what they need to help these residents on their Facebook page.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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