With only hours to go before Hurricane Matthew sweeps through the area, there was a steady flow of residents Thursday morning checking in to the shelter at Boynton Beach High.
By about 9 a.m. about 170 people had checked in, said Principal Fred Barch. The shelter offers three meals. Residents planning to come in are asked to bring sleeping items such as blankets and pillows, and mattresses, if possible. The floors are hard. Those who stay at the school will sleep in the gymnasium. There is a microwave and bathrooms.
The shelter opened at about 4 p.m. Wednesday and it will not close, said Sonya Erickson, who works in Shelter Management with the Red Cross. She said no one will be turned away.
“Whoever comes, we’re going to find space for them,” she said. “We will not turn anybody away because it’s too dangerous for them.”
A Lantana resident named Violet said she came to the school because she didn’t have shutters to put up on her home and she also didn’t have plywood. She said she felt safer here than her home.
“It sounds scary,” she said of the hurricane.
A man who said he was homeless and didn’t want to be named said a woman drove him to the shelter yesterday. A woman with him, who also didn’t want to be named, said she was thankful for the shelter.
“The people who work here are sweethearts,” she said.
One of those volunteers is Lori Neal, who stopped at the shelter after her shift at Good Samaritan hospital ended about 7 a.m. She said she heard on the news that the shelters needed volunteers.
“So many times people don’t stop to help. People just think it’s being handled,” she said. “If I can come in and make somebody laugh and make somebody’s life easier, then it’s all worth it.”
Boynton High is at 4975 Park Ridge Blvd.