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Hastings restaurant provides Consumers workers a hot meal on Christmas

BARRY COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Utility crews around the country are working around the clock in West Michigan to restore power to thousands of Consumers Energy customers.

More than 130,000 people are still in the dark across the state, and one of the hardest hit areas is Barry County, where leaders have declared a state of emergency.

More than 14,000 in Barry County remain without power--over 53 percent of Consumers customers in the county.

Almost everyone in the city of Hastings was affected by the outage, which caused not just homeowners to change their plans.

As many as 25 people have been sleeping at Thornapple-Kellogg Middle School each night, after this ice storm tore through the area, downing power lines.

Daisy Davis says her family had to change their plans altogether, when they realized there was no way to cook their frozen Christmas meal.

"what would we have done? We would have froze because we had no other place to go but here," she said.

"Most of the people here are disabled or are in wheelchairs so they cant stay home and keep warm so it's not just homeowners changing their plans," said Brandon Baird with the American Red Cross.

The owner of Seasonal Grille in Hastings, Justin Straube, opened his doors to give Consumers Energy workers a warm meal on Christmas Day, even though his house is still without power.

"The ice is laying the trees over the wires in between them and its just really hard to climb them to get them cut you know," explained Timothy Dunham, a Consumers Energy worker. "Theres a lot of danger; a lot of pressure."

"I know they're doing everything they can and I know they're doing a good job for us," Straube said of the men he sought to feed Christmas Day.

"Its a blessing; its good to have a hot, well-cooked meal. We've been eating out of the stores and fast food for a couple days now," Dunham said.

Workers from across the country, as far away as Kansas City, traveled to Barry County to restore power to more than half the population there.