A Backpack Brings Joy…and Other Good News

Mary* faced the new school year with dread.  A single mom, Mary had lost everything when Harvey destroyed her apartment in Orange – furniture, appliances, household goods.  The most precious things survived: Mary’s three kids – two teenagers and an 11-year-old daughter.  They had just moved into a new apartment and Mary was barely keeping the family afloat, while coping with having no vehicle to run essential errands.  The prospect of buying everything needed to get the kids ready for school created tremendous stress for Mary.  The stress lightened when Mary was connected to a disaster case manager with the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, who arranged for a private donation of three backpacks.  The simple gift brought so much joy that one of the girls started skipping down the driveway, so proud of her new backpack.

(Contributed by SVdP)

Will*, a disabled, retired Vietnam Veteran who lives in Freeport, lost all his belongings when his mobile home took on more than 6 inches of water from Harvey.  To make matters worse, the shed outside of his home, where he operated a small repair shop for oil rig equipment, was completely destroyed.  This was a major blow.  Will depended on the money to supplement his small social security income.

After several months waiting for assistance, Will was able to get his residence cleaned out and repaired, and even received help replacing many of the water-damaged personal items.  However, there appeared to be no way to assist with rebuilding the shed or removing the heavy equipment that was kept in it.  To make matters worse, the city had issued a citation, pressuring Will to get the place cleaned up, which triggered severe anxiety attacks.

The disaster case manager with The Alliance found a creative way to help by approaching the Houston-Galveston Sector of the US Coast Guard for volunteer assistance.  The Coast Guard group identified the nearest location of a large metal shredder, brought several pickup trucks, loaded the water damaged equipment and took it to the metal recycling center.  Then, the group spent the entire day cleaning up around the client’s home.  With the assistance of another volunteer, the client’s shed is being rebuilt with supplies and materials donated through the volunteer groups.

Will was grateful and delighted to share his war stories throughout the day with the group of service members.  He took his case manager’s business card to the city to show them how people who knew nothing about him, came to his rescue.

(Contributed by The Alliance)

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