City: Springfield

Clean Water & Pervasive Hope Flow Freely in El Salvador

Health, hope, and safe drinking water are closely linked. That’s why Convoy of Hope has partnered with companies like LifeStraw to provide help to people without a source to clean water.

After Tropical Storm Amanda struck El Salvador in June of 2020, many communities watched flood waters rise and limit their access to clean drinking water. Everyone affected by the storm found themselves at much greater risk for water-borne illnesses.

To address this need, LifeStraw donated LifeStraw Community units for our team in El Salvador to distribute to those affected by water insecurity. Many of the communities who received filtration units lived with an ever-present fear of parasitic infections and kidney failure.

The LifeStraw Community units are designed to remove 99.99% of bacteria, viruses, and protozoan parasites by filtering 25 liters of water at a time. The units use gravity filtration to mitigate the need for running water or an external power source and can safely filter enough water for 100 people a day for up to five years.

When communities receive hope like this, they have more than just their immediate needs met. One community continued to spread hope by sharing clean water with others who were still in need.

Water is a daily necessity that sustains in the present; hope is a necessity for a brighter future. Together, they are life-changing. Thanks to our partners and supporters, Convoy of Hope has been changing the stories of people who lack access to water and new opportunities.

To learn more about World Water Day and what water means to communities around the world, click here. For more information about LifeStraw, click here.

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Disaster Services / Partner Spotlight

Cultivating Vegetables & a Brighter Future

Rosa politely smiled as she showed her mother how to plant tomato seeds. The Honduran tween talked about the importance of the soil, how deep the holes for each seed should be, and how often they should be watered.

This skill is just one of the many that Rosa is learning in her Girls’ Empowerment group, a vital part of Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment initiative.

“I was very shy and insecure of myself. I did not think I could change,” she said. “But when I entered the club, I made many friends. I work better with people and now I am stronger. They have helped me with my personal development.”

The past year has been brutal for those living in Honduras. As the second-poorest country in Central America, the economic fallout that came during COVID-19 sent many of its residents deeper into poverty. Hurricanes Eta and Iota — both doing extensive damage across Central America — destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure. With so much fear and uncertainty, many are living without hope.

For Rosa, her Girls’ Empowerment group acts as a shelter from the storms of life. “My teacher talks to us a lot and gives us confidence to talk to her about things that make me feel insecure. The agriculture program has helped me to keep busier. It has benefited me and my family in eating healthy.”

Without Girls’ Empowerment, Rosa would be missing a vital link to community in a time where it’s needed most. Thank you for giving her the chance to thrive.

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Agriculture / Women's Empowerment

Preparing for Tornado Season

As tornado season begins across the U.S., Convoy of Hope is keeping a close watch on the weather to ensure we can respond when disaster strikes. One of the most important things you and your family can do to stay safe during a natural disaster is to prepare ahead of time. Staying educated about terminology and the factors that contribute to tornadic weather will keep you prepared.

According to the National Weather Service, approximately 1,200 tornadoes develop every year. The 2020 storm season brought severe tornadoes that impacted Columbus, MS, Lee County, AL, and Monroe, LA — all of which led to responses from Convoy of Hope.

The severity of a tornado is measured by the “Enhanced Fujita Scale,” generally abbreviated as “EF”, and ranks a tornado’s threat level from zero to five. An EF-0 tornado brings wind gusts between 65 and 85 miles per hour and may cause light damage to siding, gutters, and tree limbs. An EF-5 tornado comes with wind gusts in excess of 200 miles per hour and can level houses, uproot trees, and throw vehicles.

Although meteorologists can forecast conditions that may be favorable for tornadic activity, they can’t predict tornadoes. For that reason, preparation is the best precautionary measure you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event a tornado strikes.

“Preparedness is not merely putting aside a case of water and some ramen noodles,” Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team says. “It requires us to think through scenarios, try to anticipate potential needs, and take practical action toward preparing for those needs.”

Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team recommends that you:

  • Create a preparedness kit.
    • Include one gallon of water per person for three days, and three days worth of non-perishable food per person.
    • Add flashlights, blankets, shoes, and rain gear for each person.
    • Account for personal hygiene items by including a one-gallon, sealable bag of necessary items per person.
    • Be sure to include one weeks worth of vital prescriptions.
    • Use portable, waterproof storage to house important documents. They could be digital or physical copies that you entrust to a loved one.
  • Create a family communications plan. Be sure you have a plan to contact family members if you are not together when a disaster occurs. Plan ahead for the possibility that there might not be cell service or internet.
  • Stay educated and aware of your surroundings.
    • Explore the possibility of first aid, CPR, and other disaster preparedness courses.
    • Remain up-to-date on weather monitoring.
      • Apps like Emergency Red Cross and NOAA Weather Radar can help.

If you find yourself in the immediate path of a tornado, the National Weather Service and the CDC recommend the following steps.

  • Note indicators of an approaching tornado. Indicators often include large hail, a loud roar that sounds like a train or a jet engine, and an exceptionally dark or green-colored sky.
  • Plan a route for you and your loved ones to get to shelter.
  • If you’re indoors, get to the lowest floor of the structure. Next, find the innermost point of the building to put as many walls as possible between yourself and the outdoors.
  • Avoid windows. Do not try to open windows to let the wind blow through.
  • Use whatever padding or protective gear you can to shield yourself from flying debris.
  • If you’re outdoors, lie flat in a ditch, culvert, or another low lying area and cover your head.

Planning ahead for inclement weather is vital for safety. Convoy of Hope consistently hears the sentiment, “We never thought it would happen to us,” when they talk with those affected by a disaster. With a bit of preparation, you can provide peace of mind and an extra measure of protection for your and your household.

As you think through your disaster preparedness plan, click here  to download our Family Preparedness Guide for more important information to help you plan ahead.

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Disaster Services

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