Recently, the Midwest and Northeast were hit with record-breaking rainstorms that dumped more than 6 inches of rain in one day on parts of southeastern Michigan and more than 13 inches on Long Island, New York.
Freeways flooded and left hundreds of drivers stranded. Most had to abandon their cars in water so high that it swallowed up the vehicles. Basements were flooded, causing frustrated homeowners to throw out possessions that were soaked and a total loss.
The historic flooding also affected the homeless who had to abandon their makeshift living situations under freeways and on city streets. Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), our facilities were filled past capacity as homeless men and women sought shelter from the driving rain. We could not — and would never — turn anyone away, so we accommodated them the best we could. They were able to change out of their soaking wet clothing, eat and sleep on dry bedding.
This was unprecedented for our organization. We are used to an overflow of people in the winter when it is extremely cold. But this was the first time that we had this many people in our shelters in the summertime. We even got calls from people looking for a place to stay because their homes were flooded.
Make no mistake about it; the massive flooding took a human, emotional and financial toll.
But through it all, people were helping people. Just as DRMM opened its doors to an overflow of homeless individuals and homeowners who were flooded out, we heard countless stories of firefighters and other emergency personnel rescuing stranded motorists. There were stories of neighbors using their fishing boats to check on the safety of the elderly in their communities. And, there were stories of residents helping others clean up their flooded basements.
In the midst of what was a harrowing ordeal, I am glad that so many people were still reminded of Jesus’ great commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
And, in this age of wars and other conflicts, that gives me inspiration and hope.