Lake Charles, LA (September 17, 2020)— Don't give up. It's a sentiment echoed throughout Lake Charles in these days and weeks after Hurricane Laura ravaged the area and turned lives upside down. Karen Collins, a resident of Lake Charles' impoverished Goosport neighborhood, says it's the message she hopes to convey to all of her neighbors. “My advice to everybody is not to give up. There's a reason why we're going through this, and I think people need to recognize that and just keep the strength,” Karen said. “It's a test in everybody's life, I think, to be strong and show God we've got to be strong and to believe Him,” she continued.
Karen has been coming to The Salvation Army canteen at Peggy's Superette for meals and says that she appreciates the Army being present time and again after disaster strikes. “Salvation Army has come through any time since I've been here in over 20 years. I would say from Rita to this storm, The Salvation Army always came through in this area and I appreciate it,” said Karen. “I believe it's important that they come because it's showing the community that there is a source out there that cares,” she added.
Alric Lane is a native of Lake Charles and a Salvation Army canteen worker who has been serving regularly at Peggy's Superette. “Being out there, letting them know that hey, no matter what, there's a hot meal right here for you and there's a little conversation that I'm more than happy to share with you. And a little prayer if you need it,” said Alric. “A lot of them are just sleeping in their houses, hot—they can't afford a generator. So, I try to make it fun. Let's laugh, let's get some good food to eat, and let's go on with our day,” he continued.
There was a time when Alric was, in his words, “in the dark side of the world.” But he turned his life around with help from The Salvation Army and has been able to maintain a sober and productive life. In this disaster relief service, he has been serving some of the people he knew in his previous life and sees it as an opportunity to spread the message of hope. “For people to see that this is living proof that there is hope and that God is not done with you yet,” said Alric.
Karen and Alric agree that the main focus to keep going throughout this difficult time is to have hope in God and never give up. “I just want to tell everybody, just don't give up. Don't ever give up,” Karen said. “God doesn't give up on us,” she added.
As natural disasters can increase mental stress, The Salvation Army’s Emotional & Spiritual Care HOPEline remains available. Anyone needing a caring listener – whether because of natural disaster, COVID-19, or the stress of life in general – can call 844-458-HOPE (4673) for support. HOPEline hours are 8 AM to 11 PM CDT, 7 days a week.
The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army is by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest emergency disaster services news from The Salvation Army, please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/LakeCharlesCorps, www.facebook.com/salarmyalm/ and www.twitter.com/salarmyalm.About The Salvation Army