Could you imagine losing the home you’ve lived in for your entire life?
The place where your parents raised you, and the place where you raised children of your own? For survivors of Hurricane Ida, like Tracy, this is her reality. Tracy has lived in the same home in Sellersville for 41 years, the entirety of her life. The house was passed down to her from her late mother and she raised her three children there as well with her husband of 13 years.
Their home is located directly next to Mill Creek, and has suffered damage from countless floods throughout the years. Hurricane Ida, however was their worst flood yet, and quite possibly their last. “We’ve never experienced a storm like Ida ever,” says Tracy. “The water came in so fast. It was terrifying. I just wanted to get my family out safely,” she recalls.
When Hurricane Ida hit, Tracy was at work. “I could see the water rising on the security camera to our house, and my husband was home with our three kids. I told him they needed to get out of there,” she describes. With only a small car at home, Tracy’s husband knew the vehicle would not make it through the dangerous flood water.
“I drove home from work as quickly as I could so I could get my family and we could drive in my car, which is larger, but it also barely made it through the water,” she explains. Tracy and her family left everything at home. Leaving with nothing but the clothes on their back, they were able to find a hotel to stay the night while Ida destroyed nearly everything they owned.
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“We lost my late mother’s wedding album. We lost my porcelain doll collection that I’ve had since I was a child. There’s just so many little things that meant so much, and they were all just washed away,” she reflects.
All that we had were the clothes that we were wearing. We didn’t have time to take anything else, not even foodTracy P., Survivor of Hurricane Ida
Losing their beloved pet cat, their chickens and chicken coop, as well as all of the treasured belongings in their home, Tracy’s family was heartbroken and dismayed.
“The entire process has been extremely stressful for us. Following the storm, we stayed in a hotel for three weeks until we were able to find a temporary apartment, which is where we’re living now. We are responsible for cleaning up everything that is left of our home,” Tracy indicates.
Following Hurricane Ida, Tracy suffered a panic attack and ended up in the hospital. “I thought I was having a heart attack,” she says. “It was very scary and I’ve never had a panic attack before.” Recovering and returning back to her family, there is an unbelievable amount of work that Tracy and her family still need to do, and it’s just not possible for them to do it alone. “Even something as simple as a dumpster to throw all of our things away was very hard to find,” Tracy explains.
With the support of their local church, St. Michaels Lutheran in Sellersville, congregation members helped remove damaged belongings from Tracy’s home. “We are just so thankful for the support of St. Michael’s. They supported us immediately after by lending us clothes and providing gift cards for food, and they helped us clean out what was left in the house quite a bit. We filled an entire dumpster and that was just the beginning. We’ll likely fill three more,” she says.
As they continue to clean out their home, Tracy and her family have fears of returning.
I fear that it’s just too dangerous for me and my family to live there. My oldest daughter is scared. She doesn’t want to live there because she’s afraid it will flood again, and I agree.Tracy P., Survivor of Hurricane Ida
There are many families like Tracy’s who need support following disastrous events like Hurricane Ida. Over 30,000 people across eight counties have applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for help. Lutheran Disaster Response, along with partnering agencies, is working to provide assistance in long-term recovery for neighbors in need.
For those who have lost everything, your gift means the world.
When you support Lutheran Disaster Response- Eastern Pennsylvania (LDR-EPA), you bring hope to individuals and families who have faced incredible hardships following disastrous weather and storms like Hurricane Ida. Your gift to LDR-EPA helps connect flood survivors with the resources they need to safely move forward.
Our goal is to raise $5,000! Will you help us?! Click here to visit our Giving Tuesday page and give your gift to LDR-EPA, today!
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