The Red Cross has been using Sachem East High School on Granny Road in Farmingville for at least 50 evacuees, mostly from the low-lying areas of the south shore, according to its site manager.
"We got here on Sunday at 7 o'clock, started setting up." said Dennis Patrikios, a volunteer at the American Red Cross, which is running the shelter. "By 8 o'clock, people started coming in."
Patrikios said it's been smooth sailing at the school since they arrived, never having lost power or having had to resort to the organization's backup generator, which they brought along. In addition to the safe haven from the damaging winds, Patrikios said the site has received an enormous amount of generosity.
"People have been wonderful," he said. "Donations from the community as far as the vendors; bagels, and donuts, and Stop & Shop: they've been marvelous as far as giving us stuff that we needed."
Patrikios said they have plenty of food to last several more days provided the population holds steady. He added that they have not been told when the Red Cross will have to vacate the premises for school to resume. Sachem Schools have closed for the rest of this week.
As for the site itself, the operation is running with multiple Red Cross vested-volunteers adhering to strict rules of privacy. Photography is not allowed on the premises, and visitors must sign in at a desk set up in the school lobby. While Patch was on the site, aides to the shelter's Spanish-speaking evacuees arrived to pay a visit and were vetted through Patrikios.
Evacuees have been given the opportunity to communicate with family members outside the shelter if they so desired.
"If their cellphones are not working we're lending them our cellphones," Patrikios said.
Now it's just a matter of maintaining the shelter until the evacuees either return home, or the organization is asked to leave, Patrikios said.
"We are still open," he said. "We're open tonight. I'm hoping to get a phone call at any moment to tell me 'you're gonna be here.' That's what I'm waiting on."