By Mark C. Robinson
Wrangell Sentinel 

Community responds with food, shelter and crisis counseling after landslide tragedy


November 22, 2023

Mark C. Robinson / Wrangell Sentinel

Angela Stires is embraced by her daughter at the community center, which opened up Monday for people displaced by the landslide. Stires lives about a mile farther down the highway from the slide zone and evacuated after the slide cut access to homes in the area.

Multiple resources are responding Tuesday to help people affected by the massive landslide at 11-Mile on Monday night that killed at least one person, with five others still missing.

The growing list includes food, temporary shelter, or just a warm place to spend the day with family and friends.

Angela Stires, an evacuee and a nurse at Wrangell Medical Center, said she and her family were provided rooms at the Stikine Inn, which has been offering shelter to people displaced by the landslide. She lives at 12.6-Mile.

“The Stik has been awesome,” she said. “They gave us all rooms, even with our dogs and everything. They were up all night getting people in.”

Recreation Coordinator Devyn Johnson of Parks and Recreation said the community center is open to evacuees and volunteers who want to help during the tragedy. “We’re inviting folks to bring food in for volunteers and those who have been evacuated or affected by the tragedy.”

The borough’s Facebook page added, “Food donations can be dropped off at the community center kitchen. Please feel free to put items in the fridge or on the counter. We have tables, chairs, TV, showers and coffee. All are welcome.”

Johnson said access to the community center is free on Tuesday, and people in need of a warm place to stay are invited to come in. “We have showers, a place to watch movies, which will be playing during the day,” she said. “The pool is closed today, so there will be no swims scheduled, but the gym is open. There is a place for young kids to come and play, and we have board games available for use.”

Shari Smith, a member of the Harbor Light Church, said the church was open for those in need. “We are just waiting for whatever needs there are to step in. The church is open and available for anyone who would like to stop by, for anyone who needs anything. There’s bedding, there’s clothing, there’s food, there’s a place to stay. If anyone needs counseling, the church is available for that as well.”

Sweet Tides Bakery announced via a post on its Facebook page that drip coffee was on the house for everyone on Tuesday.

The Irene Ingle Public Library has also been open to people in need, according to library assistant Kaitlin Wilson. “We have internet. We have coffee. We have open power strips if people want to bring their own devices, and we have computers available,” she said.

J&W’s Fast Food posted on the Wrangell Community Group Facebook page that it was offering “a free meal to all the first responders. Anyone displaced by last night’s events is welcome to grab a burger today, on us.”

Estevan’s Taqueria also posted that it was offering free food to firefighters and volunteers.

River’s Mouth Trading Company also offered to help, and posted on the same Facebook page: “For anyone displaced by yesterday’s landslide, please don’t hesitate to come by River’s Mouth Thrift to pick up any necessities you may need free of charge. We are open 10 (a.m.) to 6 p.m. and are here to support you however we can.”

Tiny’s Taxi was offering rides on Tuesday at no cost for those who need it and can be reached at 907-305-0789.

The Salvation Army food pantry is open to distribute food to anyone in need, and is offering a warm place, coffee and support.

The SEARHC Wrangell Medical Center reports its “team of experienced crisis counselors are available now to support Wrangell community members in crisis.” For assistance, call the Wrangell Behavioral Health Clinic at 907-874-5000 or visit the clinic at 333 Church St. “For after-hours crisis support, call the SEARHC Crisis Helpline at 877-294-0074.”

SEAK Behavioral Health has posted that it is available for anyone in need of counseling, and services will be free. Call or text Krissy Smith at 907-305-0985 to set up a time or day.


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