Convoy of Hope held a recovery event for regions hit hard by 2021’s Hurricane Ida in LaPlace, Louisiana, this weekend. The event was the third of its kind in Convoy’s long-term response to the devastating Category 4 storm.
“Even though it’s been over a year since the storm made landfall, people are still recovering, and those people still matter to us,” said Eric Gordon, Convoy of Hope’s Senior Director of U.S. Disaster Services. “Long after things have moved on, we have not moved on.”
Convoy teams distributed groceries, home goods, and hot meals to everyone who attended the event. At recovery events like these, insurance specialists and mental health professionals provide legal aid, talk people through insurance difficulties, and provide emotional care.
Something that Eric noticed about this event was how excited families were to have regained a sense of normalcy a year after the storm. “Thanks to Convoy, they get to celebrate the holidays in their own homes this year.”
AJ Gonzales is someone who is finally finding his “new normal.” His house was so badly damaged by Ida that he had to gut most of it. Immediately following the storm, he and his family of seven had to live in a two-bedroom house for 9 months. Struggles with insurance and covering the cost to completely renovate his home had him wondering how he was going to manage it all.
Thankfully, he heard about one of Convoy’s long-term recovery outreaches and got the help he needed. This weekend, he returned to an event … but this time as a volunteer.
“To see you guys still out here over a year later, loving on the community,” he said, “when I heard about y’all coming out here doing this, I said, ‘Well, I want to be a part in some way to be able to give back.’ To see Convoy of Hope step in in a situation where there really was little to no hope for so many people — and for me included — it’s been such a beacon of hope and a blessing from God.”
Mirza Grubbs also volunteered at last weekend’s event. Sadly, Ida wasn’t the only deadly storm she’s survived. She also lived through 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history. With tears in her eyes, she said, “So I definitely know what devastation feels like and what it feels like to lose everything you have. Then to have God use y’all to extend the hand to come out here to help. It’s amazing.”
The event this weekend was certainly a reason to celebrate. It’s also a sobering reminder of the pain people are facing over a year later. But Convoy is committed to serving those whose lives were changed forever by this violent storm. As always, Convoy will do as much as it can for as long as it can to serve vulnerable people and communities in need.