Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
a story of resilience and partnership
In the wake of frequent hurricanes across Florida and the Gulf Coast, Week of Compassion has maintained a long-standing partnership with VIND (Volusia Interfaiths/Agencies Networking in Disaster), working together to meet the long-term recovery needs of Volusia County residents as they rebuild after storms.
A recent project following Hurricane Ian last year, funded with a grant from the Lowe’s Reconstruction Grant through National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), is just one example of survivor resilience and the power of strong partnerships.
Mr. S is a fifty-eight year old father of two adult sons, who are both on the autism spectrum and considered non-interactive. They live in a 4bed/2bath home with their four Chihuahuas. Mr. S says, “Just us. And that is just fine. At least we’re together and have each other.”
Years ago, Mr. S purchased the house to ensure that his two sons would always have a roof over their heads. Today, that is exactly what they have – a roof. Due to Hurricane Ian, the house is currently a shell of itself, with exposed walls, no ceiling, concrete flooring, and a makeshift counter with a plastic bin to hold their few dishes. One bathroom consists of just a toilet; the other has nothing.
Ever resourceful, in a money-saving move, Mr. S sold his vehicle and purchased one that leaves him with no payments. A post-storm FEMA grant went toward stripping the home of damaged walls and ceilings, and providing food for the family and materials to repair the home. While Mr. S saves money where he can and works on the home after work and on the weekends, guiding his sons along the way, the lack of materials still outweighs even his considerable handiwork and home repair skills.
With a monthly income that just covers his bills and care for himself and for his two disabled adult children, who do not receive any benefits, Mr. S collects scraps and cast-off materials from others, which he stores in what will one day be the family’s living room. He looks forward to eventually completing the rebuild of this home for his sons.
As it happens, Mr. S just celebrated his 59th birthday and, in a wonderful coincidence, learned that his citizenship hearing would be the same day. In the hopes of adding to his birthday blessings and family security, Week of Compassion and VIND, with funding from the Lowe’s Reconstruction Grant through National VOAD, have secured the means and have just begun the work to finally complete Mr. S’s recovery and rebuild project.
Relationship and partnership mean that gifts to Week of Compassion – from individuals, congregations, and partner organizations – reach farther and do more than any one person could ever do on their own. Generous gifts live on, and Week of Compassion is grateful to witness the hope and transformation.
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