Disciples News Service

There for the long haul: Week of Compassion continues to help hurricane survivors in Florida

Submitted by Week of Compassion

To feel safe… It’s something that many of us take for granted. But for survivors of hurricanes, safety can seem like an unattainable luxury – almost too much to imagine. While initial clean-up from a devastating hurricane may be accomplished in a few months, the long-term consequences last for years.

In 2016, Hurricane Matthew landed hard in Volusia County, Florida. Dozens of homes were destroyed and thousands severely damaged by downed tree limbs, strong winds, heavy rains, and storm surges that flooded low-lying homes. Scarcely a year later, Hurricane Irma hit. Many of those who had not been able to repair their homes from Matthew sustained even more damage. Staff from Volusia Interfaiths/Agencies Working in Disaster (VIND) said: “Hurricane Irma re-traumatized many Volusia County residents who were still in the process of their long-term disaster recovery from Hurricane Matthew.”

Through your gifts to Week of Compassion, safety once again became a reality for some of the most vulnerable. VIND president and Disciples pastor, Rev. Dave Troxler, notes that the word “safe” was spoken again and again by homeowners helped through VIND’s efforts: “Each homeowner was asked what they were feeling and how they were doing now that the work has been completed. Each homeowner said ‘I feel safe.’”

Paul* is one such homeowner. Paul is a 70-year old veteran with COPD, whose sole income is a small social security check. With support from Week of Compassion, VIND was able to help him repair his home’s badly leaking roof and restore the home’s interior.

Sandra*, a 59 year old woman who is sole caregiver for her disabled son and elderly mother, had major damage throughout her home due to leaks in her roof during the hurricanes. Using monies from Week of Compassion and volunteer labor from South Elkhorn (Kentucky) Christian Church, VIND has restored Sandra’s home, so it is once again a safe place to live.

Week of Compassion began working with VIND shortly after Hurricane Matthew, since the group is housed at First Christian Church, Daytona. When Hurricane Irma hit, we affirmed our commitment to support the community for the long-haul – now for two major storms. Through your gifts to Week of Compassion, VIND has been able to help many folks – like Paul and Sandra – with repairs that they could not have attained otherwise.

Week of Compassion, through its partners such as VIND, continues to walk alongside survivors for the long-haul. In Volusia county, as in so many other places, your gifts make possible “more than we can imagine!

Week of Compassion’s special offering is February 17-24, 2019. Please visit our website for resources, worship materials and more! 

*Name changed for privacy.