Panama City, FL (October 25,2018) – Nestled along the St. Andrews Bay, is the historic neighborhood of St. Andrews, known for its quaint shops and home to free-spirited locals, like Joan “GG” Canal.
“I trusted God through the whole storm and He has a plan for me, so I’m not afraid of the future. We’re just exhausted from the emotions,” she said.
Still reeling two weeks after Hurricane Michael, debris from buildings and trees line the streets of St. Andrews. GG was cleaning out her vintage boutique that was heavily damaged by the storm, when Salvation Army Major Claranne Meitrott stopped by with a hot lunch and words of support.
“The amount of love from people like you with something like a warm meal is contagious,” GG said with tears in her eyes. “I hope the spirit lives on here in St. Andrews; the spirit of love that got us through the storm and is getting us through each day right now.”
Major Meitrott is among a team of Salvation Army officers from the US and Canada who are providing emotional and spiritual care to hurricane survivors like GG throughout the Panama City area. The two women spoke at length and prayed together on the sidewalk in front of GG’s shop.
Although it would be some time before her business reopens, GG remains optimistic about life. She shares her messages of hope with the community through the words painted on signs in front of her store. One simply reads, “We will rebuild.” And on the plywood used to board up her broken store windows, she painted, “Psalm 57:1.” (Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy, for in You my soul takes refuge. In the shadow of Your wings I will take shelter until the danger has passed.)
“We’re glad we are still standing and give God all the glory, praise and honor due Him,” GG said.
Since Hurricane Michael made landfall, The Salvation Army has made 26,916 emotional and spiritual care contacts with survivors, a vital service in catastrophic events. Not all impacts of natural disasters are visible. The Salvation Army addresses the stress of disaster survivors and first responders with emotional support and spiritual care. Whether it’s lending a listening ear, offering a hug, joining together in prayer, or simply being present, providing spiritual comfort is the heart of The Salvation Army’s mission.
To help support the disaster relief work of The Salvation Army, donations can be made at www.helpsalvationarmy.org, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, by texting STORM to 51555, or by check (designated “2018 Hurricane Season – Michael”) mailed to PO Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.