Updated 4:16 p.m.
Gov. Bob McDonnell has declared a state of emergency for Virginia due to the high winds that swept through the state, leaving many without a way to stay cool and hydrated.
In what is being called the worst non-hurricane related power outage in Virginia’s history, the SBC of Virginia and Thomas Road Baptist Church are teaming up with the City of Lynchburg to offer relief to the 2.5 million Lynchburg residents without electricity.
“Main Street is open for cooling and hydration 24/7 at this point,” Liberty University’s Chief of Police Richard Hinkley said. “We are not providing sleeping facilities at this point.”
TRBC is not an official Red Cross shelter. The church has partnered with Gleaning for the World to bring in bottled water and snacks. The water and snacks are available without charge.
Liberty University’s Reber Thomas Dining Hall will open to community residents for meals. The buffet-style meals may be purchased for $3 per meal. Hours of operation include today from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 7 to 9 a.m.; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and 4:30 to 7 p.m.
“They are prepared to continue as long as needed and access will be assessed based on participation,” Hinkley said.
Heritage High School has also been designated as a Red Cross cooling station, according to Red Cross officials. The school is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The City of Lynchburg’s water supply has not been affected by the disaster and is safe to consume, according to city officials.