The Salvation Army goes the extra mile in Hurricane Ida relief effort
By: Sarah Munoz
Captain Tamara Robb, Corps Officer (Pastor) for The Salvation Army in Meridian, Miss., received a call just after Hurricane Ida made landfall. She had no idea what an impact she would soon have on one survivor’s story.
Kevin, who passed out during the storm, immediately called 911 when he woke up and was care flighted to Meridian. Kevin is from Houma, La. and was in the hospital for several days, after which he moved into a motel due to displacement from his home. It was a terrible situation, with fights happening right outside his door. He called The Salvation Army, desperate for help, and Captain Robb moved him into their shelter and provided him with food, clothes, a suitcase, and a bus ticket to return home.
Kevin made it as far as Mobile, Ala. when the bus could no longer head west due to Tropical Storm Nicholas. He reached out to Captain Robb, who had previously served in Mobile, and without hesitation, she called Kerry, thrift store manager for The Salvation Army in Mobile, and arranged a ride for this sweet 62-year-old man and a place to stay at their shelter. After a few days, waiting for the storm to pass and working with a caseworker, he could finally head home.
A week or two later, Captain Robb received a call, asking if she could serve on the Emergency Disaster Services team.
“I immediately looked to see if I would be near Houma,” she said. “Sure enough, I was, and by my second day, I was searching for Kevin to see if he made it home, but I couldn’t find him.”
“Yesterday, I was serving on the canteen and thought, ‘I have to try again.’ We found a few neighbors who said they knew him and pointed further down the street to his house,” Captain Robb continued. “We stopped and asked another neighbor, and to our surprise, she said, ‘Yes, that’s him right there.’ I pulled up, and he saw my van, so I jumped out, and he made his way to me with the biggest smile, saying ‘Brother, I’ve been looking for you!’ And I replied ‘It is so good to see you. I’m going to cry!'”
There is a long road ahead for Kevin, and so many others, to rebuild their homes and communities. The Salvation Army continues to serve those who have no power, providing hot meals, food boxes, cleaning and hygiene kits, and emotional and spiritual care. Through Oct. 3, The Salvation Army has served 454,431 meals, 220,067 drinks, and 137,787 snacks, making 27,060 emotional and spiritual care contacts across the state of Louisiana in response to Hurricane Ida.
To make a financial donation to support ongoing Hurricane Ida relief efforts, go to helpsalvationarmy.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest disaster response information, go to disaster.salvationarmyusa.org.