Migrant family displaced twice by Irma gets help from Johns Island church, mission group
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) —
The trek back to Florida for those who evacuated because of Hurricane Irma is a slow process.
Interstate 95 going south has been at a standstill for many trying to get back home, and for some who left ahead of the storm, funds are beginning to run low.
Last Wednesday, the Guerrero family packed all they could and fled Immokalee, Florida.
Hurricane Irma would hit their hometown directly days later. Helen Guerrero says their homes are still without power.
“We do have to go back and repair our homes, clean up, get back to school, get back to work and see what’s available for migrant workers that travel up here with us,” Guerrero said.
She and her family first evacuated to Beaufort, where her sister lives and has a farm there. But days later, they too were under a mandatory evacuation.
The Guerrero family is filled with immigrant teachers, administrative assistants and migrant farmers. In the past, they've worked on several farms on John’s Island. Cristobal Guerrero said the Lowcountry feels like a second home.
“We’ve been doing this all our lives, and this is our second home. This is why we decided to come to here instead of going to Texas or somewhere else,” he said.
The brother and sister said they knew if they came to a familiar place, Rural Missions, they’d find shelter. But to their surprise, it was also flooded.
Executive Director Linda Gadson says the extent of their damage is unknown.
“We’re waiting for our insurance company to send their adjuster, but the walls haven’t been pulled back yet. When those walls come out that’s going to tell the real story,” Gadson said Wednesday.
But with what she called, “quickly answered prayers,” and the help of her neighbors from Church of Our Savior, the Guerrero family was able to find help.
Pastor Karl Burns said this is ministry at work.
“Tonight, it looks like we got them a place to stay and a roof over their heads. And with the help and charity of some folks, we hope that we’ll see the kids and see this family and see God at work. This family has given the people and opportunity to minister,” Burns said.
A small token for a big family. Helen says there aren’t enough ‘thank you’s’ to express her gratitude.
“With the glory of God, we’re here and getting the help that we need,” Helen said.
If you'd like to make donations to this family, you can make checks payable to Johns Island-based Rural Mission. They will send you a receipt and notify you once donations are made available to the family.