Though the road ahead will still be tough, it appears some light is shining through for the residents of Eldon most affected by the May tornado.

Though the road ahead will still be tough, it appears some light is shining through for the residents of Eldon most affected by the May tornado.

Recently, the American Red Cross announced that the Thomas Jefferson Middle School tornado shelter in Jefferson City and the Eldon Community Center shelter would be merging to save on resources and to focus efforts into a central location. However, when speaking with Sharon Watson, Chief Communications Officer for American Red Cross Missouri and Arkansas, she confirmed that before the merger could happen, all Eldon residents under their shelter support had been successfully moved to a more permanent housing solution.

At the time of deciding on the merger, the Eldon shelter was still servicing 5 displaced residents, with the Jefferson City location still servicing 11. With that number shrinking everyday, the Eldon location was able to find housing for everyone in the time it took to set the merger up. The Jefferson City location is still at their total of 11, though Watson believes many of those residents will be relocated within a few days.

Watson says the biggest challenges have been involving parents with children. She says the stress of not being able to rest somewhere permanently have taken its toll now almost half a month later. That being said, Watson says the Red Cross is proud to be able to give these families three meals a day, shelter and entertainment in the meantime.

“The longer it continues, the harder it will be,” Watson said. “We were just happy to be able to provide some comfort to the families affected.”

For any resident feeling overly exhausted or stressed at the shelters, Watson says they have mental health checkpoints stationed for support. She says that in the first few days following the storms, overall mental states were low. As things have progressed, she says many residents have been able to find ways to cope until proper housing is conjured.

On the night of the storm, 75 residents of Jefferson City were displaced into the local shelter.. The next day as the shelter opened with full staffing and food, water, and meals, 57 people stay overnight. For several days as rescue efforts continued and the storms faded, the Red Cross continued aid for 35 residents in the Jefferson City shelter and 30 in Eldon. Watson hopes to have all remaining Jefferson City residents in permanent homes within the weeks to come.