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Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Little Miracle in Katrina’s Aftermath

Yesterday I was part of a small miracle involving a mom and a disabled daughter who had lost it all in New Orleans.

A few days ago I was helping as a volunteer at the Sugar Land Resource center based in the old city hall building. In the hallway near the front door, I happened across a lady with a disabled 10-year-old daughter who was about to leave. She said she had no place to stay that night -- and would have ended up sleeping in a car. In the organized chaos, she had somehow slipped through the system. She was out of gas and out of work.

I got her to some of our people who were going to get her a $10 gas card and a place for the night. But that was not the miracle.

Yesterday I was driving my dogs back from getting shots at the vet when I got a message on my cell phone from the United Cerebral Palsy in Houston offering to help this lady find housing. I did not know how they knew about her or me; I had only mentioned the lady’s plight as one line in an email to my church that would be helping prepare meals at a shelter.

That was great news but I didn’t even know her name or where she was. Our system had a stack of 500 or more names of people needing housing, none sorted by disability or special needs.

Then the miracle happened. As I went about my volunteer duties yesterday, I happened across another volunteer and mentioned my quandary. To my surprise the volunteer said that she remembered the lady since she had been the one who drove the woman to get a gas card and to the local Red Cross Shelter at a church.

I called the shelter, and they remembered her and the child! They checked. She was still there. I gave them the contact information.

So, the little miracle is that I was able to link a woman and her disabled daughter to someone who could help. It might not be much, helping two people out of the hundreds of thousands of evacuees living in Texas, but combined with the efforts of countless other volunteers and organizations, it made a difference in someone’s life.

That made the long days of volunteering even more worthwhile.

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