Local shelters in Middle Georgia open doors to evacuees


MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – There are several shelters throughout the peach state being opened to hurricane Matthew evacuees.

“We’re trying to make the people who need to come to this area as comfortable as possible,” says Executive Director of Central Midwest Georgia Red Cross Chapter Connie Hensler.

The American Red Cross partnered with community agencies to keep people safe as hurricane Matthew makes its way toward coastal Georgia.

Forecasters expect as much as seven inches of rain to drop and bring damaging winds to the region.

The Macon Hephzibah Children’s Home, North Macon Park and the Peach County Fire Station 6 in Fort Valley are offering shelter to evacuees from the coastal areas.

“Just having a place that they can feel comfortable and can have their immediate needs you know food and shelter taken care of means so much to so many people,” Hensler adds.

The shelters provide food, water and beds for residents all over to stay. Community agencies say the shelter also help those who are not able to get a hotel room if any are available.

EMA Director and Fire Chief of Peach County Jeff Doles says,” Commercial lodging has already filled up and unless people have friends or family to go to, shelters are the only option.”

Preston Pruitt traveled from Buford, South Carolina Thursday morning and is staying at the Peach County Fire Station number six in Fort Valley. He says he had no idea there were shelters available but is glad he found a place that could help.

“We was riding looking for hotels and we was going to Butler and this was recommended through another organization and they said come to Fort Valley and they popped up at the shelter. They was very nice and opened up the doors for us,” Pruitt continues.

Organizers say what matters the most is the community coming together and helping those in need during this difficult time.

“We always try to look at it if the shoe was on the other foot, we would like to go to their county and be hosted and be taken care of as well as they are here,” Chief Doles explains.

East Macon Recreation Center opened at 7:00 p.m. as a third evacuation shelter.

The North Macon Park shelter is the only location that is accepting families who have pets.
Anyone who has a care giver or needs special accommodations will need to stay at the Hephzibah Children’s Home for shelter.

East Macon Community Center, 3326 Ocmulgee East Boulevard, Macon, Bibb

Hephzibah, 6601 Zebulon,  Macon, Bibb

North Macon Community Center, 815 North Park Drive, Macon, Bibb

West Laurens High School, 3692 Highway 257, Dexter, Laurens

Dublin High School, 1127 Hillcrest Parkway, Dublin, Laurens

East Laurens High School, 920 Highway 80 East, East Dublin, Laurens

Dublin Civitan Club/Fair Grounds, 2503 Highway 257, Valdosta, Laurens

Peach County Fire Station #1, 6711 Peach Parkway Highway 49, Byron, Peach

Peach County Fire Station #6, 1770 U.S. Highway 341, Fort Valley, Peach






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(478) 745-4141 ext. 303 Karlisha Booze joined the 41NBC news team in October 2013 as the producer for 41 TODAY. A year later, reporting for Channel 17, the Bibb County School District channel, was added to her responsibilities. Born and raised in Macon, Karlisha is proud to be in her hometown doing what she loves to do. Karlisha's passion for news began in elementary school where she anchored the school's morning news and got an opportunity to try out for the Junior Journalists at WMAZ. She also performed in commercials with Kids Voting Georgia, for Bibb County and Cox Communications. Prior to working at 41NBC, she was a news intern at WGXA and was later hired as a production assistant and worked as a fill-in anchor/producer for the station's morning news broadcast. Karlisha graduated from Middle Georgia College in 2009 with an Associate of Arts (Communications), from Fort Valley State University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts (Mass Communications), and from Ashford University in 2014 with a Master of Arts (Organizational Management). She is currently pursuing a Doctorate focusing on Business Administration. In her free time, she enjoys writing poetry and spending time with family and friends, especially her son, Ka'Dence. If you have any story ideas, please pass them along!