After this flood hit so close to home, we felt so burdened to help the families that were left with their homes underwater.
It all started by just wanting to make some home cooked meals for these families. I drove past a garage sale on Thursday and just decided to pull in. I found myself just asking them if they had anything they wanted to donate, to let me know because there were many families in need.
That's when it all began.....
Before I even knew what was going on, they had loaded up vehicles of everything at their garage sale and were following me home! Oh, no I thought! Where am I going to put everything?!
It's amazing what you can fit in a 2 car garage. Well, a snowball effect started happening. I received families who were in need from my friend, Tara, who is a school teacher in Austell. She personally knew families and specific needs. Well, I sent out an email and all of the sudden, not only was my garage full, wall to wall, our neighbors, Greg and Jessica's garages were full as well. More stuff kept coming, and more families kept coming. I just couldn't say no to anyone.
In the end, we've had enough supplies to help 6 families. I am overwhelmed, amazed, and blown away by the events of the last 1 1/2 weeks of my life. Clothes, toiletries, appliances, dishes, pots & pans, shoes, home decor, furniture, beds, mattresses, tables, chairs, tvs, christmas trees, linens, baby/kid items.....you name it, someone donated it. Even money, which we used to buy the families some food, since it was all washed away.
I can't really describe the feelings I felt when we showed up to the neighborhoods.Tears streamed down my face as I thought of what these families went through, especially all the ones with small children. We took one trip on Monday night, one today, and our last will be on Tuesday. It's a wave of emotion that comes over you when you see the destruction. The only way I can describe the aftermath is by saying it looked like a "Mud Tornado" came through. There was a "mud line" on houses and trees where everything below where the water came up to was a different color. It was discolored from mud, garbage, and debris. It was the new tinted color of everything the water level arose to. The water was a rushing current that ripped out any belongings in homes and were scattered about the neighborhood and destroyed.
The looks of hope on these families faces is one I will never forget. We not only got to help them get a fresh start with everyday belongings, but also came representing Christ and the hope we have in Him. That He alone, is our hope, our Father, and our Provider. We got to pray with one family and they actually called yesterday and said they would like to come to church and know more about Christ. They were so drawn by the love that was shared with them, so awesome.
Here is a run down of the familes that we met:
1. The Arrington Family (Mom, Dad, 5 children under the age of 6 1/2 years old).They are all set with everything they need!
2. Grandmother of the Arrington Family: lost her home completely and FEMA is putting her up in a home that we will move her into on Tuesday with our small group.
3. Crocket (single mother and son):
Home is currently under repair, we went and put all her things in the garage until electricity and walls can go back in. Pics below. This was also the family that they only way they were rescued was b/c at 6am they drove to the back of the neighborhood, climbed the embankment, and waited for someone to pick them up
4. Rodriguez Family (mom, dad, 3 children): They lost their home and are going to rebuild & hopefully in 3 mo will be back in. They are living with friends in a very small home and there is 10 total people now living here plus lots of furniture.
5. Another Mother & son-
Lost everything and are living with her sister in a 1 bedroom apartment, where we dropped all of her things.
We had lots of baby items come in and gave them to a family who lost everything that is living at the civic center with a 3 wk old baby.
The picture of Six Flags that flooded the media....
Garrett Springs nieghborhood, where one of the families lived
Deerfield Creek neighborhood, where another family lived
After renovations...... we had the biggest U-Haul you could rent, and 2 trucks and trailors!
As you can see, cars were destroyed, insulation, sheetrock, and flooring had to be removed to get rid of all the mold and mud.
Thank you to our parents for all the help and support (and vehichles :), Brandi and Paul, Greg and Jessica, Paula and Spencer, Sarah W, Ashley, and Paul and Courtney for helping sift through, organize, and deliver to these amazing families. Thank you to all our friends, family, and strangers who donated everything to help these families get their lives back together. Most importantly, my sweet husband, who let "lets just take a meal" get a little out of control and fully embraced the chaos.
Please continue to pray for them as they continue to rebuild their homes, and their lives.