• Tawny Cowen-Zanders

IN THE WAKE OF A STORM, STRANGERS BECOME FAMILY: Uniting Hearts and Hands for the Betterment of All

Port Charlotte, FL – As Charlotte and DeSoto Counties’ residents recover from a hurricane that razed their communities three weeks ago, one thing has become clear – the storm ravaged their land but it did not ravage their spirits. This notion is perhaps most evident in the active expression of ‘hurricane hospitality.’

“It is incredibly moving to witness neighbors helping neighbors, and strangers extending hands of compassion,” explains Major Jessica Irwin, Emotional and Spiritual Care Specialist from Lewiston, Maine. “When our meal canteen rolls into the neighborhood, the residents stop and bring their lawn chairs to eat and fellowship around our vehicle. They share stories of how they work together to ensure everyone recovers. Strangers truly become family.”

It is a sacred honor for The Salvation Army to share in hurricane hospitality, doing our part so the community can recover. Daily, Salvation Army food canteens blanket the community, providing hope and help, and uniting hearts and hands for the betterment of all.

David Alverson, a 76-year-old former foreign service worker with USAID who was a part of the US government’s Hurricane Mitch relief effort in Honduras, took notice of The Salvation Army’s hurricane hospitality and bought a ‘thank you’ cake for those who served him.

“I was without power for nine days,” shared Alverson. “It made a real difference emotionally to know I would have two hot meals a day that would be given with a smile and love.  Those workers will never know how much their encouragement meant to me. I had to tangibly extend my appreciation to strangers who had become family.”

Having aided during Hurricane Mitch, Alverson knew how challenging and exhausting hurricane relief and recovery efforts could be.  “It is not easy but it is so rewarding,” he reflected. “The Salvation Army is an organization that shows the best of humanity to those who are suffering. They will always have my support.”

The community can be assured The Salvation Army will continue to share in hurricane hospitality.  This is our sacred promise.

Those wishing to directly support The Salvation Army response to Hurricane Ian can:

  • Visit http://helpsalvationarmy.org/
  • Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)
  • Text GIVE to 52000 to donate $10 through their cell phone bill
  • Mail checks to Salvation Army Disaster Relief, PO Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301 (write “Hurricane Ian” in the memo line)