Member Agency Story
“This is Real Charity!”—One Woman’s Story of Recovery after Floods Ruined Her Home
A story about Disaster Operations featuring Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Galveston/Houston
The day after the 2015 Memorial Day flooding in the Houston area, staff members of Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston were out in the field assessing the needs of their senior citizen clients. One of those clients was Minthia Terry, 74, an initially suspicious but ultimately overjoyed disaster survivor whose home was repaired with help from Catholic Charities.
When staff members of the Houston agency first arrived at Minthia’s house, she was hesitant to receive help and did not trust them in case they were trying to scam her. Case manager Valerie Zanders assured Minthia that everything would be okay, and the following day, helped her apply for FEMA aid. Immediately after, Minthia felt safe and was so thrilled Valerie was there to help her.
Looking back now that she has a new kitchen and new painted walls, Minthia said, “Without little Valerie, I would not have any of this. She saved me and I felt actually loved and valued. I thought to myself, ‘This is a real charity.’”
Valerie visited with her two to three times each week for several weeks to ensure that repair work was progressing and that her basic needs were being met. The agency provided gift cards, referred her to Mattress Firm to get a new mattress and took her to the furniture bank to find new things for home.
It meant a lot to Minthia, who told Valerie: “With y’all’s help, I survived. You can thank everybody for me from the bottom of my heart.”
The 2015 Memorial Day floods ravaged homes, destroyed people’s sense of security, and damaged possessions that represented a lifetime of memories. Catholic Charities in Houston immediately began providing services and raising funds to support the extensive recovery needs. Support came from Catholic Charities USA in the form of $10,000 and two loaned emergency case management staff for a month’s time. The agency also received numerous individual donations as well as donations from Kroger and other companies.