We knew Hurricane Matthew was coming. We watched as it blew through the Caribbean, into Florida, over Georgia, and into the Carolinas. We were praying, we were mobilizing, and we were prepared.
Arriving at the disaster site today in Bolton, NC (a small town outside of Wilmington), a car immediately pulled into the lot next to the canteen. As the guys were starting to cook breakfast I headed over to a woman pacing outside of her car.
“Are you guys serving food today,” she asked frantically.
“Oh thank God! I haven’t eaten in a few days,” she said as tears began to swell in her eyes.
“Tell you what, I’ve got some fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts and hot coffee while we wait, mind if we chat?” I asked trying to get her mind off the wait.
Bolton didn’t flood too badly, but the wind knocked over trees, which knocked out power. It’s been a week since the hurricane and it’s been a week without power for those living in this community.
As we began to chat she told me how her mother used to work at The Salvation Army and she would tag along with her mother when she responded to disasters.
“This is embarrassing. I was always on the other side, I never thought I would need help like this,” she said.
“We all need help every once in awhile.”
“My power has been out, I’ve lost everything in my fridge and freezer. I’m a senior citizen and I don’t have much money. I can’t travel very far and everything around here is still closed.”
“Don’t worry we’ll make sure you don’t go hungry again,” I said as my heart was breaking.
“This is a God-send. I don’t know how much longer I could have went.”
A hurricane does not choose who it impacts. And although we were prepared to respond, I don’t think I could really prepare for my encounter with this sweet lady. I pictured my grandmother being stuck without food. I find faith in knowing that if she ever needed a hot meal, there will always be a canteen there.
An officer (a Salvation Army pastor) did a bible study and prayer with us before we left to feed today. His theme - be faithful. I thank God that The Salvation Army is faithful, especially during disasters.