Convoy of Hope Commits to a Lasting Laura Response
Convoy of Hope receives expressions of thanks from around the world. Rita Davenport’s email came with a copy of her mother’s obituary after Wilona Henry, 87, passed away from complications of COVID-19.
“Our windows came in today,” Rita said. “Mom would have been so excited to know they are now in.”
When Rita and Wilona’s home in Lake Charles, Louisiana, was devastated by Hurricanes Laura and Delta last August and October, Convoy of Hope responded, addressing short- and long-term community needs following both disasters.
Hurricane Laura had barely died down when Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team sent multiple vehicles to quickly create a distribution site at Glad Tidings Church in Lake Charles. By early September, the team had delivered more than 1.6 million pounds of disaster relief supplies to 19,000 families in 16 cities.
“When the storm was setting its bullseye on Lake Charles,” said Glad Tidings Pastor Paul Burke, “I didn’t even have to reach out to Convoy of Hope. Directors at Convoy of Hope were already reaching out to me. I can’t say thank you enough.”
Convoy’s immediate response was just the first step. By November, with Lake Charles and other communities forging ahead after both hurricanes, Convoy worked with The Home Depot Foundation to provide materials to repair devastated homes. Local contractors reduced their fees to assist. Volunteers from Christian Aid Ministries and the Fuller Center Disaster Rebuild Group provided labor.
Eventually, Rita and Wilona’s home joined more than 40 other homes (with additional projects still in transition at press time) that received some level of repair. This could include new roofs, windows, or other structural components. Major electrical appliances were also given to some families because post-hurricane power surges were destructive.
Lake Charles joins communities worldwide that have experienced Convoy of Hope’s rapid response and long-term presence. Some of those responses have expanded existing Convoy initiatives or have even become a factor in establishing new strategies.
International Long-Term Relief
Within 48 hours of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake in 2010, Convoy of Hope team members were on the ground evaluating the situation. Convoy already had a school-feeding plan in place for 13,000 Haitian children. By maximizing existing resources and warehouse space, and rallying faithful partners, Convoy made Haiti the staging ground for dramatically growing its recently established Children’s Feeding program.
In time, an important key to that growth came from a new initiative — training Haitian farmers to radically increase their yields through modern agronomy strategies.
In 2020, that dual approach to combating food insecurity translated into more than 387,000 children around the world being fed and 15,351 participants being trained in agricultural practices. Convoy of Hope’s rapid response to Haiti’s crisis 11 years ago continues to find expression in its Children’s Feeding and Agriculture programs.
Similarly, Convoy of Hope hit the ground strategically in Ethiopia in 2010 to offer marginalized women an opportunity to attain financial security. Today, the Women’s Empowerment program is helping thousands of women and girls around the world. Many women in the program are now successful owners of their own local businesses.
“We provide hope,” says Gwen Johnson, Partner Services Director for Convoy of Hope Disaster Services. “And we never discount even small acts — every little thing helps people on their path to recovery.”
Whether a crisis is personal or communal — the crippling impact of poverty or the devastation of a natural disaster — Convoy of Hope’s short- and long-term intervention means lives are being changed for the better.