08/28/11 — Residents hunt for somewhere to eat in storm

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Residents hunt for somewhere to eat in storm

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on August 28, 2011 1:50 AM

Two-year-old Abigail was so hungry she was crying. Although her mom, Jaclyn Sporcic, had stocked up on cold foods before the hurricane, Abigail's little tummy was craving a hot meal.

So, like a lot of other Wayne County residents, the pair headed out Saturday to find some food. What they found most of the time were long lines inside local restaurants and at drive-thrus.

"I wasn't sure if anything was open," Jaclyn said.

After she waited in line for almost an hour at Wendy's on Berkeley Boulevard, the restaurant closed before Jaclyn could place her order. So she started driving down the road until she found the Waffle House open.

There they sunk their teeth into a hot omelet, hash browns and a children's cheeseburger.

"Breakfast food is always good," Jaclyn said. "A hot meal was pretty important. We ate a cold lunch, and it was OK, but Abigail really didn't care for it."

The meal was also a welcome break from her damaged home. The hurricane smashed her neighbor's trampoline into the side of her shed and ripped her daughter's swingset out of the ground and tossed it across the yard.

The Smith brothers also stopped at Waffle House for a hot meal.

William, 79, was down for the weekend from Norfolk to visit his brother, Relma "Smitty." Relma was mourning on the six-month anniversary of his wife's death and William braved the hurricane to show his support.

The brothers had worked all day in Relma's turkey house feeding and watering the birds after the turkey house lost electricity.

"We got ready to go down and eat in Mount Olive (where Relma lives) and all the places are closed," William said. "So we came to the Waffle House. The Waffle House is always open."

Williams' eggs, grits and toast were a good ending to a hard day.

Relma, 80, settled on eggs, toast, sausage and hash browns.

Although there was standing room only at the Waffle House, the Smith brothers arrived just in time, getting the last available table.

As they were digging into their meals, two airmen from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base walked in.

Senior Airman Brian Delacruz had been working special duty at the base shelter.

"We got a two-hour break to get some food before going back to work," he said." I like Waffle House, and they're usually pretty quick. And they were not backed up as the rest of the town."

Airman First Class Melissa Perkins works in lodging on base.

"I was real hungry and came in to get some hot food," she said. She decided on an omelet.

At Sonic, cars were lined up all around the building.

Darrell Green, operating partner, drove in from Greenville to open Sonic at 6 a.m.

At first there were only two other employees, but Green decided to stay open anyway. A couple of hours later, he was able to get a couple more employees in.

"We closed at 3 p.m. because the power went off," Green said. "We cleaned everything and I was on my way out the door when the power came back on. I had to open back up."

He said he reopened because people needed somewhere to go.

"I just couldn't close my doors if I had power," Green said. "I couldn't do it. We didn't feel good about it. It was tough because my guys had work 10, 11, 12 hours straight and were ready to go. But we kept on. We feel good about what we're doing."

Green talked with a lot of his customers, who told him they were without power

"We provided a service," he said. "If we had lights and power, we were going to feed them."

David and Janet Aranjo were two of those waiting in line at Sonic for some hot food.

"This was the shortest line we've seen," David said. "We just wanted a warm meal. We have had no power since 7 a.m. today."

Their mouths were all set for chicken strips and a Coney. And they were willing to wait in line for it.