Convoy of Hope Still Aiding Thousands After St. Vincent Volcano Eruption

“No one thought it would last this long,” said Kenyatta Lewis, a pastor who lives on the Turks and Caicos Islands. After growing up in St. Vincent, Lewis was devastated by the destruction following the recent eruption of La Soufrière.

Until this disaster, it had been 42 years since an eruption on St. Vincent in the Caribbean islands. La Soufrière — French for “sulfur outlet” — has erupted close to 30 subsequent times. One was so powerful that it launched sulphur onto four different continents.

“20,000 people have been displaced; about 7,000 of them went to government shelters at churches, community centers, and schools. The rest found shelter in private homes with other family members or friends. People were left with very little,” Lewis said of the aftermath.

But grief and despair soon turned into hope.

“Convoy of Hope, only 10 days after the first eruption, had enough food to feed 500 families for two weeks. Our typical family here has between three and four people,” Lewis said.

Lewis was equally excited that Convoy of Hope purchased some of the food at local food shops to help otherwise struggling businesses.

“We had rice, sugar, powdered milk, canned tuna, corned beef, cereal, [and] sardines. We were well-fed. And again, each household was given food for two weeks’ time,” said Lewis.

Six churches on the island helped with the distribution of food and bottled water. Lewis says that, more than a month after the eruption, Convoy of Hope has reached close to 4,000 people.

“Thank you for your contribution. Thank you for your generosity. My prayer is that everyone who has given will be blessed beyond measure,” Lewis said.

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Disaster Services / Program Updates

Convoy of Hope Ready to Respond During Hurricane Season

When the reg flags go up, Convoy of Hope is on the ground and ready to help. For our work, being prepared is crucial.

“Having the resources in our distribution center at all times … food, water, [and] hygiene items … we have them ready to go so we can get them in the trucks and on the road,” said Stacy Lamb, Convoy of Hope’s Senior Director of U.S. Disaster Services. “We have both our staff and lead volunteers around the nation trained and ready to go at a moment’s notice.”

Convoy of Hope has refined its response to disasters since 1998 — the first year the organization responded to a storm. Since then, Convoy of Hope has secured at least two of the much-needed equipment items that help in these responses. This equipment has been critical, especially when more than one disaster is happening in different parts of the country.

Convoy of Hope is in constant communication with partners on the ground prior to a disaster, and when a storm rolls in, teams are on standby and ready to move in quickly. The Convoy of Hope Disaster Services team also closely monitors weather around the globe, keeping up to date on potential natural disasters.

“We couldn’t do anything without the generous support that we have from our donors throughout the country and across the world. Thank you for all you do to help us do what we do,” Stacy said.

Convoy of Hope strives to bring hope in every storm, but the work would not be possible without donors — both large and small — giving during disasters and year-round.

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Disaster Services

Understanding Hurricanes: Safety in Education and Preparation

“Hurricanes are the most awesome, violent storms on Earth,” NASA once said. With damaging winds, deadly storm surge, and up to 100 lateral miles of rainfall, hurricanes are definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30, according to the National Weather Service. As hurricane season approaches, it’s important to stay informed and to be ready for the possibility of severe weather in coastal areas. Education and preparation can make an incredible difference when disaster strikes.

Hurricanes need two primary ingredients to form: heat and wind. Warm, damp air over the ocean fuels a hurricane’s rotation when the air rises and cooler air rushes in to take its place. As this cycle continues, wind speeds increase until a tropical storm forms. Once the tropical storm’s winds reach 74 mph, the storm becomes a hurricane — which will continue to rotate and suck up sea water at a rate of up to 2 billion tons per day.

A hurricane is categorized by its wind speed using the following scale:

  • Category 1: 74-95 mph winds
  • Category 2: 96-110 mph winds
  • Category 3: 111-130 mph winds
  • Category 4: 131-155 mph winds
  • Category 5: 155+ mph winds

When a hurricane makes landfall, it generally loses power as it moves inland and loses the strength it gained from the warm ocean water. However, storm surge — which National Geographic estimates accounts for 90% of hurricane fatalities — usually accompanies a hurricane as it approaches the coast. Storm surge occurs when hurricane winds send water above the shoreline, rising up to 20 feet and rushing inland up to 100 miles.

If you find yourself in the path of a hurricane, the National Weather Service recommends boarding your windows, listening to weather updates, and following instructions — including evacuation orders — from local officials. If you do not evacuate, take shelter in the interior-most room of your home and stay clear of windows, skylights, and glass doors.

Throughout Hurricane Preparedness Week, and in preparation for all types of disasters that occur year-round, Convoy of Hope remains equipped to respond. With your help, we can provide hope in every storm.

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Disaster Services

Life After Dorian: Convoy of Hope Continues to Provide Help

“The entire roof blew from right over our heads,” Ryan Forbes said. Ryan and his community felt the full force of Hurricane Dorian when it struck the Bahamas in 2019. “After a while, even the walls left from around us.”

Dorian, the worst natural disaster in the island nation’s history, claimed more than 70 lives and caused an estimated $3.4 billion in damage.

“Water was just everywhere,” Pastor Robert Lockhart said. “Things were floating all about.” He recalled feeling the walls shake and hearing a locomotive sound while sheltering from the hurricane. Then everything went dark, and he realized they had no connection to the world outside of the disaster zone.

Although Hurricane Dorian struck almost two years ago, Convoy of Hope continues to provide help to those affected by the storm and the pandemic, which followed close on its heels. From groceries to boat motors and furniture, Convoy of Hope has worked hard to provide hope for these people with the help of our partners.

Frevamae Wilson was one of the many people struggling to find a sense of normalcy after Dorian tore through the Bahamas. “Everything was destroyed,” she said. Frevamae explained that the 6-foot flood waters filled her home and swept her belongings away, including her furniture. She tore off the plywood used to board up her windows and used it as a makeshift bed. She made due with 5-gallon buckets for seating.

“You all came, you all gave me the first two pieces of furniture in my house — my settee and my dining room table — and I will cherish those,” Frevamae said after Convoy of Hope presented her with new pieces from Ashley Furniture.

Pastor Robert continues to partner with Convoy of Hope to provide relief after the storm. “You were literally feeding thousands of people every day, not only from the hurricane, but also the pandemic,” he said.

Thanks to our supporters and partners, Convoy of Hope is providing hope for people in the Bahamas. Together, we can provide hope in every storm.

“To all of those that have helped make this possible, we want to let you know that your giving has blessed so many people,” Pastor Robert said. “The support and the help was actually life-saving for the people of Grand Bahama.”

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Disaster Services / Field Story

Convoy of Hope & Life360 Share Compassion with Rural Communities

“It’s amazing what all comes through and how we can use odd donations [to] make a big impact in a small town,” said Jeremy Hahn, Pastor and Executive Vice President of Life360 church.

Jeremy, with the help of several others, transformed an old grocery store into a massive assembly line of food, hygiene items, practical items, socks, and even teddy bears. The operation stretches to 72 towns across southern Missouri and is starting to expand into Arkansas, Kansas, Arizona, and likely Tennessee.

We pack out of this location for about 15 different schools around the Springfield, Missouri, metro area,” Jeremy said. Convoy of Hope helps make the work possible. 

Convoy of Hope is a big partner for us, and to be able to get this done is incredible,” Jeremy said. “Every kid will eat, but we have the opportunity through Convoy of Hope and our partners to provide other things.”

This work was all born out of Convoy of Hope’s Rural Initiatives program.

“They started training me on these ideas of flying kite strings into the communities. And we started with that model right here in northwest Springfield,” he said. “[We] quickly realized … their focus was rural communities, and that was part of our vision as well. So we took that into our rural model. It is just incredible to see how quickly a rural community will respond.”

Life360 is feeding children across several states in rural schools where there is a free and reduced lunch rate of more than 50 percent. The entire school district receives food and other necessities in the classroom, which guarantees each child gets to eat.

“Our people are all about transforming their community. Our foot in the door is to feed kids, house, educate, and empower them,” he said.

Thank you to all of our partners like Life360 who help us share light and hope to children in rural communities around the world.

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Rural Compassion