Charleston, W.Va. -- Charleston soup kitchens are continuing to feed people even though they don't have usable water because of the chemical leak in the Elk River.
Residents in eight counties and part of a ninth have been ordered not to use tap water for any purpose. In the meantime, soup kitchens are continuing to find ways to feed the hungry.
Jean Simpson, director of Manna Meal, a soup kitchen and day shelter, said that Manna Meal had a large amount of prepared food, more than they usually have because it is right after the holidays. She said that they have been able to distribute that food even without water.
"I'm basically just emptying my coolers as far as anything that is already prepared," Simpson said. "Then we will go into our stash but like I said we just finished with the holidays and we are loaded and that's a blessing.
"What we are trying to do is abide by the rules and do the best we can with the situation we've got so we can be open," she said.
Manna Meal operates out of St. John's Episcopal Church located at 1105 Quarrier St in downtown Charleston. The soup kitchen serves an average of 410 people per day between the two meals it provides.
"We have never closed in 38 years," Simpson said. "I just think this is a good source of emergency food and possibly water if we can get it."
Simpson said they need water and are requesting donations. She has called the Charleston mayor's office, the Red Cross and the National Guard trying to find water.
"Water will come. I truly believe it will come from lots of different sources it's just the process of being slow," Simpson said. "People in this town are always willing to help."
For now, Manna Meal is serving patrons juice and milk.
"I'm not so concerned with the drinking water at this point," Simpson said. "I'm just concerned with food and having water to be able to create a sanitary operation."
Simpson said Manna Meal received its monthly shipment of supplies from the federal government on December 23, and it had a lot of juice and other beverages.
Manna Meal didn't have to close during Hurricane Sandy or the derecho that left many without power. It did prompt them to think about being better prepared.