Evangelical relief organization Samaritan’s Purse has given away 16 houses in a 60-home subdivision to people who lost nearly everything in a tornado that hit Western Kentucky in 2021 and killed around 80 people.
Following a tornado in Mayfield on Dec. 10, 2021, that destroyed hundreds of homes, Samaritan’s Purse gifted 16 houses in a subdivision called New Hope Acres to families who lost their homes in the storm.
“I was in Mayfield shortly after the storm hit, and the damage was indescribable. So many people were in shock and suffering. Everything they had was gone in an instant,” said the Rev. Franklin Graham, the president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse.
Graham met each family and dedicated each house to God while welcoming the families into their new residences in an event held last Friday.
“After the storm, I was here on Christmas Eve, and we served a dinner,” Graham told those at the dedication of the homes. “We began to look at the despair and the hopelessness that so many people were going through. I was talking to the Lord and asking: ‘What can we do, how can we help? How can we help make a difference?'”
“God provided the funding, and we realized He wanted us to do something. We decided to come here and build 60 homes. We come here today not only to thank God, but to dedicate this property, these houses and the families who will be living here, we dedicate them all to God and His glory.”
The EF-4 tornado killed roughly 80 people and destroyed more than 1,000 houses. Samaritan’s Purse sent around 2,000 volunteers to assist over 700 families affected by the disaster.
“I thank God that Samaritan’s Purse was able to respond immediately with thousands of volunteers and that we’re now able to complete these new homes to help families get back on their feet. We are providing these homes in New Hope Acres for free. We want the people of Mayfield to know that God loves them,” Graham said.
The new community of homes was intentionally given the name “New Hope Acres.” Graham said there had been “so many people here who had no hope and this is the new hope right here.”
“And that hope is found in God and His Son Jesus Christ. We wanted a place in this community that spelled out hope,” Graham continued.
Each home is fully furnished, with the neighborhood consisting of two, three and four-bedroom floor plans.
Dennis and Latasha Hayes received one of the completed homes. The married couple survived the storm by huddling together with friends and family members in their old home.
Latasha recounted that the tornado striking her house sounded like a train, with the room where her friends and family members took cover being the only part of the house that survived.
“We shouldn’t have made it out, so we were blessed to walk out of something so devastating,” she said, according to a release from Samaritan’s Purse.
Another new homeowner, Megan Williams, said she cried and thanked God when she heard that Samaritan’s Purse was giving her a new home.
“Since the tornado, I’ve felt like I’ve just been in a race, but the finish line kept getting pushed further away,” she said.
“But now it’s here, and my shoulders are a whole lot lighter. It was breathtaking when I walked in here today. I had never heard of Samaritan’s Purse before, but now I’ll never forget you all,” she added.
“I’ve gotten close to so many people from Samaritan’s Purse. They’ve been wonderful. The journey’s been long, but it’s worth the wait. I can’t say thank you enough to Samaritan’s Purse. This house is a blessing. God is good.”
All the families getting a new home participated in “Foundations of Hope,” a six-week course overseen by local Mayfield congregations for homeowners to aid their financial management skills and other points of disaster recovery.
Samaritan’s Purse is not only donating the homes in New Hope Acres, but it is also building 21 additional homes in the greater Mayfield area. Fourteen of these homes have already been completed.
Samaritan’s Purse has also provided furniture replacement for 100 families and installed 174 storm shelters capable of withstanding an EF-5 tornado.
“Disasters and crises are happening more and more frequently around the world. Things aren’t getting better, they seem to be getting worse, and we want to help those who are suffering when their needs are greatest,” Graham said.
Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post.
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