The Salvation Army of Wake County’s mobile feeding (canteen) unit, along with nine other units from The Salvation Army of North and South Carolina are on the way to Florida to serve people impacted by Hurricane Irma. The four-member staff of The Salvation Army of Wake County is headed to Keystone Heights, FL, which is about 60 miles southwest of Jacksonville.
One of the staff members is Michelle Isidore, head cook at The Salvation Army of Wake County. Isidore knows something about devastating hurricanes and was living in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck back in 2005.
“I was blessed to have been able to have gotten out of New Orleans before other people and before traffic really got bad,” said Michelle, who has been with the SAWC for 11 years. “I relocated to North Carolina, thinking it would be temporary. I had no idea I was never going back home.”
Unlike a lot of people in New Orleans, Michelle had a brother that lived in Jacksonville (NC). She moved in with him and later relocated with him when he moved to Raleigh. When volunteers were needed to go to Florida, Isidore signed right up.
“I want to be a blessing to somebody else,” she said. “Since I went through Katrina I feel like I’m able to give back to someone else what was given to me. I lost everything but trusted in God and he saw me through. I know what the people in Florida are going through.”
As Michelle – who is making the trip with Warehouse manager William Hunter, Community Center director Sarah Ruiz and Wake Forest Rd. Family Store manger Jean Temple – anticipates what things will be like on the ground once she arrives in Keystone Heights, she can’t help but reflect upon where she was just 12 years ago.
“Sometimes I look at how people couldn’t get out of New Orleans, how people were dying,” she said. “To cope with it, I prayed and talked with people to get my heart where it needed to be.”
All of her family survived Katrina with most family members now living in different cities. Her parents still living in New Orleans although not in the same home.
“I am blessed and happy to be able to give back.”
Those who want to help people directly affected by Hurricane IRMA are asked to donate in the following ways:
Donate by phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY
Mail: The Salvation Army PO BOX 1959Atlanta, GA 30301 Please designate Hurricane Irma on all checks.
To receive a donation link via text: Text STORM to 51555