Antoenina Jackson smiled brightly when Kanawha County medics arrived at her Rand apartment with a case of bottled water.
Red Cross volunteers had just delivered cases of water, but she would take all the precious liquid she could get.
"Today was my first drink of water," Jackson said as she maneuvered her motorized wheelchair out of her apartment.
She hadn't had any water to drink, bathe, cook with or wash with since Thursday when the water ban was enacted.
A state of emergency was declared Thursday night in nine counties after a chemical known as crude MCHM, which is used to clean coal, spilled into the Elk River.
It contaminated the water supply for residents in eight counties and part of a ninth. West Virginia American Water customers in Kanawha, Putnam, Jackson, Roane, Clay, Boone, Logan and Lincoln counties, and Culloden in Cabell County were affected.
The water ban left a conservative estimate of 300,000 people without potable water for more than three days.
The elderly, infirm, and those without vehicles had no way to get water without the help of family, neighbors or county workers.
Workers at the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority have worked non-stop since Thursday evening to get water, and food in some cases, to those who couldn't get it themselves.
Brent Burger, director of support services, said that ambulance staff had run more than 1,600 delivery missions since Thursday evening. Each could be two or three houses or 15 to 20 depending on location.
Charleston officials have given out more than 800,000 bottles of water at three city firehouses in the last 72 hours. City workers also have been delivering water to health care facilities, shelters, food pantries, nursing homes and public housing complexes throughout the city.
On Saturday, 17 county crews were on hand to run missions. Fifteen were running delivery missions Sunday, said Deborah Mahairas, assistant unit leader at the county ambulance authority. Mahairas has been coordinating missions at the garage since Thursday evening.
The Kanawha County Emergency Operations Center takes the names, addresses and phone numbers of those in need, received either by phone or word of mouth, and then distributes that information to the ambulance authority. Mahairas then dispatches a crew.
"It's been hectic at times but it's OK," she said. "We do what we do to get people the water they need."
EMTs and medics still are responding to emergency calls in the midst of all of this, Burger said.
The ambulance garage on Brooks Street held dozens of pallets stacked high with bottled water and MREs (that's Meals, Ready-to-Eat) brought in by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Their supplies are not available to the public to pick up.
EMTs and support staff members loaded the food and water into ambulances, pickup trucks and whatever county vehicles they could find to haul the provisions to those in need.
Mahairas said she normally doesn't have the opportunity to interact much with the public but that they have received phone calls of thanks over the last few days. One message came from a woman whose mother received a water delivery at her assisted living apartment.
"They're so happy with their water they're having a water party out in the living room," the woman said before asking that her thanks be passed along to the drivers.
"That's why we do what we do," Mahairas said. "That's why I'm here - just to help people."
Jeff Broyles and John Johnson had just finished their shift at 5 p.m. Thursday when they learned of the water ban. They went back to work three hours later to start helping deliver what little water the county had. The pair works on an ambulance together and gave up their weekend off to deliver water.
"We feel pretty good about it," Johnson said. "It's nice to be able to go help people when they're not sick or injured. Most of the time when we see people they're needing to go to the hospital."