Apalachicola, FL (October 30, 2018) – During times of disaster, trained volunteers, employees, and officers of The Salvation Army work together to serve the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of survivors. One critical role after a disaster is the Emotional and Spiritual Care Specialist.
Emotional and Spiritual Care (ESC) Specialists love on people, pray with survivors, and help connect them to resources. They are a friend at a time people need a shoulder and go above and beyond to help people whose lives are turned upside down by a disaster.
This week, an ESC specialist deployed to Apalachicola met a local resident, Daisy Mae and her mom, Jessie Mae. They were without electricity for a while after Hurricane Michael and needed hot meals and cleaning supplies. They rode their bikes to a place The Salvation Army was serving and were trying to figure out how to carry home the food and supplies provided to them. ESC specialist Jay asked if he could deliver the supplies to their house. After delivering the items, he asked if there was anything else he could do to help.
“Yes, there is something else we need help with, but I am not sure what you can do,” said Daisy Mae. “I need a prescription for an inhaler and I cannot afford it.”
Right before the storm, Daisy Mae’s attorney who was helping her apply for disability passed away. While helping her neighbors after the storm, she became dehydrated, passed out, and was transported to the hospital. She was transferred to Tallahassee where they released her and gave her a prescription for an inhaler. Without insurance, she couldn’t afford the inhaler.
When Jay heard the story, he offered his phone to Daisy Mae, so she could register for disaster assistance. Then he went to the public health office to see if they could help with her prescription. She filled out a form at the health department and received her medicine on a sliding scale payment. On Jay’s last day serving, he went by to check on the ladies to say farewell and pray with them.
Renee, another ESC Specialist, who was working at a feeding site in White City, Florida, met a couple with two young boys. “These boys were angels,” Renee said. “We were there to minister to this family, but the boys ministered to us instead.”
As the family was leaving after receiving a hot meal and snacks, one of the boys, 9-year-old Dakoda, reached through the window to grab Renee’s arm. He touched her wrist and said, “We have the same color flesh and the same color blood.” Dakoda went on to talk about how he knows the Bible well and prayed with Renee. When describing the experience, Renee said, “It was as if I was looking into the eyes of Jesus.”
On Renee’s last day of service, she went by to check on the family. Dakoda greeted her with a hug and said, “Out of darkness there is light, and you are our light.” As she told the family goodbye, he said, “We will be together again someday.”
The Salvation Army will continue to provide emotional and spiritual care to people affected by Hurricane Michael in the Panhandle of Florida. Three weeks after the storm, the need of the people affected remains strong. Many are without power. Well water is contaminated. People are hurting. The Salvation Army will be there if needed to lend a helping hand and provide a shoulder to lean on.