The Second Responders of Hurricane Michael

Oct 4, 2020

The Second Responders of Hurricane Michael
A recap from Billy & Lorena Smith, Founders of Lancaster’s FreeChee


Hurricane Michael hit on a Wednesday, and we left that Friday and arrived on Saturday morning. We had no idea what we were doing or where we’d stay, but we knew we needed to head out with our new FreeChee truck for the first time.

The things we saw during our relief efforts were devastating. There was a nursing home with residents who hadn’t eaten in three days because the power had been out, so we went in and fed them. Roads were blocked from downed power lines and trees, so we set up camp at a strip mall and fed anyone who was hungry. We’d just say, “Have a grilled cheese, your day’s going to get better.” Over five days, we served more than 2,000 people with grilled cheese and tomato soup.

When we arrived in the disaster area, The Salvation Army volunteers were everywhere. We saw one or two other emergency relief groups occasionally throughout the week, but The Salvation Army volunteers were everywhere, and they were plentiful. They were organized, kind and were in the heart of everything – you just knew God had it under control. They had cots set up and graciously invited us to stay there with them. We really respect the way they come together to provide relief in this emergency.

When it comes to helping others during a crisis situation like this, you don’t even think about it, you just do it because you can. It’s the right thing to do. It’s really just all about human-to-human, people coming together to do what they can to help, and that was evident with The Salvation Army volunteers.

The Salvation Army is definitely all about helping people in dire situations – and they’re there with a smile! The Salvation Army reminds me of ants in a disaster situation – they are there in plenty, and are ready to work and help. They’re truly the second responders, set up to help first responders and citizens in need. They’re truly like angels.

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