Yet again, assignments to serve in what is now referred to as “Reliant City” change from day to day. Reliant City is comprised of the Astrodome, the George R. Brown Convention Center, and Reliant Park. My work day got moved up to September the 24th because as of this weekend, less than 10,000 people remained of the initial 25,000 that arrived just a short time ago.
Many people flew, courtesy of a major airline, to all corners of the US to start their lives over with their families. Others have found apartments to live in, thus filling the over 70,000 empty apartments the city has within its borders. Hotels are full. People are getting their feet under them and they are able to breathe and contemplate and wonder how to start over.
I have seen, one by one lives being touched. Just down the street from the church I work for are two hotels and those families ate at the church for 10 days, received food, clothes, and job search help. One very surprised fourteen year old had a birthday party. One mother of a three week old commented, “I came here with nothing, but I will have to rent a U-Haul to go back home.” Most of the hotel families have now moved on, thankfully, to apartments or family member’s homes.
Yesterday, a couple still living in one of the hotels came in to the receptionist desk and asked me where they could get help with their car.
Their story unfolded as such. The wife found out this morning that her job was no more. She’s worked there since she was 16. I have no idea what sort of job it was, but she was in her early thirties and I could tell she was shell shocked by the news. Her company, she said, is just closing, no relocation. I have no idea about the man’s job, but she said they’ve lost all their income and their insurance.
As they were driving around town, their radiator broke. When they approached me, they were at the end of their rope.
The man’s eyes filled with tears as he said, “I feel like such a beggar… but, I don’t know what else to do.”
It just so happens the lady manning the volunteer phone down the hall is the wife of the mechanic who has fixed my car time and again the last few years. I called down to that office and they sent her down when she returned from lunch.
While Volunteer Phone Lady with Mechanic Husband talked with the man about his car, I gave the woman all the info for our job ministry, which had received several calls from job agencies offering jobs today.
I love it when a plan comes together. If that man had cried, I would have so lost it, but as it was, their needs, for that day anyway, were met.
Score one for hope.