Browsing Category: Field Story

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 Provides Relief in Puerto Rico

Throughout the past year, Puerto Rico has seen more than its fair share of hardship. COVID-19, earthquakes, drought, and tropical storms have relentlessly torn exhausted communities across the country.

Thanks to supporters like you, Convoy of Hope has distributed food, water, and other necessities to people affected by these disasters. We have hosted multiple distributions that made a big difference for those in need.

Benny was one of the many people who received groceries from a distribution that took place in his community. When a local partner asked how he was feeling, Benny simply replied, “Blessed.” Benny explained that he and his family have braved earthquakes and the pandemic together, but have continued to endure. “Thanks to God, we’re standing … God always provides,” he concluded. “We thank the organization of Convoy of Hope.”

“We’re grateful for everything that you’ve done,” another survivor, Sol Caraballo, expressed while exiting a point of distribution site. “How you have blessed us in a special way through Convoy of Hope. Thank you.”

Residents of Puerto Rico have withstood an extraordinary amount of adversity in recent months. But with your help, we are able to deliver hope to those who have struggled to find it. Thank you for helping us to deliver hope in every storm.

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Disaster Services / Field Story

Storm After Storm, Hope Remains

“The wind was terrible,” Christian said with a somber look on his face. “As the storm grew stronger and stronger … me and my wife were both holding the French doors shut.”

No sooner had survivors like Christian begun assessing the damage Hurricane Laura caused than Convoy of Hope sprang into action. Hurricane Laura was one of 26 disasters in the U.S. that Convoy of Hope responded to in 2020. Additionally, we responded to 36 disasters overseas, serving more than 1 million people internationally and more than 4.5 million people domestically.

Christian and his wife were trapped in their home when Hurricane Laura struck. Back in 2005, Christian and his family found themselves in a similar situation. Hurricane Rita decimated the Lake Charles area of Louisiana, leaving many without food, water, shelter, or other necessities. It was then that Christian had his first experience with Convoy of Hope.

“Convoy of Hope helped us tremendously. They were our lifeline for three weeks,” he said.

After Hurricane Laura dissipated, more than 450 volunteers distributed close to 1.6 million pounds of resources to people in need. In order to give back after his experience in 2005, Christian decided to become a volunteer with Convoy of Hope.

“As we give food, as we give water, people receive the help, I think it gives a little hope,” Christian said.

Because of volunteers like Christian and supporters around the world, Convoy of Hope served nearly 60,000 individuals across 16 cities in Louisiana. Thank you for helping us provide hope in every storm.

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Disaster Services / Field Story

After Years of drought, Kenyan Villages have Clean Water

The music was blaring, people were singing and dancing, and smiles were abundant. It was a fitting celebration for this Kenyan village, which for the first time in years, has a source of clean water.

Throughout Kenya, similar celebrations ensued where Convoy of Hope drilled boreholes — similar to wells — and installed systems that hold up to 6 million gallons of water. For many, these celebrations mark the end of a dark era, one that began in 2016 during severe drought.

“The cycle of drought in Kenya has been getting tighter and tighter through the years,” Chris Dudley, Convoy of Hope’s Stabilization & Humanitarian Intervention Director, said. “Drought used to happen once every 10 or 15 years, but now it’s happening every few years.”

In recent years, Kenyan families have watched their cattle wither away. For these people, lack of water meant no irrigation, no viability for livestock, and no way to provide for their families.

“Shortly after [one catchment system] was built, there were several days of rain that almost filled it,” Chris said. “This water was used for several months to help keep livestock alive and to irrigate small farms. For many pastoralist communities, their livestock is their currency, so helping keep [them] alive is huge.”

Like water, hope changes shape from time to time. Both are vital. For people affected by the drought in Kenya, hope comes in the form of a sustainable water source and is provided as a direct result of support from people like you.

While this crisis persists, we will continue to provide help and hope to people in need. To join us in our mission, click here.

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Agriculture / Field Story

A Mother’s Story: Hope and smiles came to Emma’s family

On an unseasonably cool day in June, Emma entered a local rodeo arena with her sons Anthony and Gabriel, unsure of what she’d find. They weren’t there to see broncos or bull riders; Emma had heard about an event that could help her overcome the struggles she and her family were facing.

Month after month, the bills would come due. Sometimes she and her husband could make it, but other times they found themselves at a local food bank. Their lives had changed dramatically when they had Anthony. Anthony, who has special needs and is in a wheelchair, has to regularly visit a special doctor whose office is two hours away. Every drive costs the family what few resources they have.

“We can’t do anything else,” says Emma. “For instance, I need to build the access ramp for him [Anthony]. But I can’t do it.”

For those like Emma living in vulnerable communities, life can spiral out of control quickly through no fault of their own. The cushion to absorb unexpected costs is thin at best. Because of that, even small wins can become life-changing experiences. 

For the past 25 years, Convoy of Hope and an army of volunteers has been serving across the United States, and now around the world, through Community Events. These events provide critical services that are often unreachable when money is tight. 

“We bring together churches, service providers, and people from all over the community,” says Convoy of Hope’s Jason Bachman, who led the event that Emma and her family attended. “It creates a platform for existing organizations, who sometimes aren’t even aware of each other, to come together and serve. These events create opportunities for the novice and the expert to come together to serve their cities.”

When Emma and her kids entered the grounds, volunteer greeters welcomed them to each tent. Gabriel bumped along in his stroller as Anthony hurried to grab a new pair of shoes at the Children’s Shoes tent. A volunteer helped him get fitted, and he proudly held up his new sneakers after pulling out the crumpled paper stuffed in the toes. These were new shoes. His shoes. 

Anthony impatiently zipped toward the Kids Zone. He drove his wheelchair to the sloped entrance of a bouncy castle where he was met by a volunteer who obviously didn’t know who she was dealing with. Not to be slowed down, Anthony thrust his body forward. He landed on his hands and knees and stormed the castle. His face exuded pure joy as he jumped around that inflatable castle just like the other kids. With his body in midair, Anthony smiled and shouted for his mom. Emma smiled like any parent, thrilled to see her child so happy.

“Poverty is stressful,” says Bachman. “And I think that our Community Events give people a break from that. On that day, people can let go of their problems, even if it’s just for a couple of hours.”

As Emma and her family walked the grounds, the Health Services tent caught her eye. She noticed representatives from Anthony’s children’s hospital, so she stopped to talk with them. Taking as much time as her kids would allow, she began to craft a plan with the hospital.

Weeks after the event, we caught up with Emma to see how she and her family were doing. As she shared her progress over the phone, pots and pans rattled in the background as she prepared lunch for the kids. “Since the event we’ve been doing good,” she says. “Visiting the [children’s] hospital really helped.” The arrangements she made with the hospital at the Community Event had already saved them hours of driving and extra travel expenses. That connection likely wouldn’t have been made without the Community Event and the volunteers who made it happen … together.

 

*This story originally appeared in issue 15 of the Hope Quarterly which can be read here

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Community Events / Field Story