Sharon wrote this letter to World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) nearly three years after a massive flood swept through Hammond, Louisiana, in August 2016, destroying her home and thousands of others. The same area was hit by flooding five months before.
Dear Response Team,
I’m sorry it’s taken so long to write but been quite busy getting settled back into my beautiful house again. Yes, it’s really beautiful. Everyone has done such a wonderful job getting it ready for me. There are just not enough words to tell you all how thankful and grateful I am to each and everyone of you.
It is good to know that there are such sweet and wonderful people like you in this world. You are all so kind and loving. I know that you all do what you do out of love, not because you have to, but because you want to do it.
Once again, I’m so thankful for all you have done for me and I pray to enjoy my house for a long time. Thanks to each one of you who volunteers. May God bless you and everyone of you and your families, and thanks again.
The floods were devastating......
When World Renew DRS volunteer Gayle Fopma reflected on her experience during a needs assessment in Hammond in 2017, she said in this blog post “….Most survivors we talked to listed a pre-flood income of under $10,000 per year…. Families are living with three to four generations in one mobile home. The water (rose as much as) four feet in one home that had already been raised five feet off the ground.
“The residents lost all of their possessions, their vehicles, and their safety and security. Many people are filled with deep despair, exhausted… and many welcomed a listening ear and a compassionate heart to share with. They often told us about escaping in the dark through neck-deep water with snakes and spiders swimming alongside them.”
World Renew DRS financial donors responded generously at the time of the flood. Because of their generosity and the leading of the Lord, 436 volunteers were able to clean up, rebuild, and repair 50 homes in the last three years. Volunteers traveled from across the U.S. and Canada to give one to three weeks of their time to volunteer on a group mission trip to Louisiana or by themselves or with a friend/spouse at the DRS-managed work site in Hammond.
The DRS-managed site in Hammond closed in April 2019, and World Renew DRS is grateful to the Tangilena Long-Term Recovery Group in Hammond for its partnership, working together to serve flood survivors there.
World Renew DRS is also grateful to donors, volunteers, and most of all to the Lord, for making the flood response work in Louisiana possible for the last three years.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1