Fighting for Families

March 7, 2014

by Raija-Liisa Teigen, Southern Alberta Restoration Project Case Manager

Samaritan's Purse staff member Raija-Liisa Teigen shares how the Southern Alberta Restoration Project is helping protect vulnerable families in the aftermath of the 2013 floods.

I am often reminded of how privileged our team is to fight for people who are still struggling because of the 2013 Alberta floods. 

Last week, I drove to High River, a town that was slammed by the flooding Highwood River and that in many places still resembles a disaster zone. The family I met with had recently immigrated to Canada. They spoke little English, so I asked my colleague—who is fluent in Spanish—to come along and assist me.

We met a lovely woman from Latin America, along with her two brothers, her nephew, and her nephew’s wife—all of whom live together. Their basement was destroyed by the flood.

But that was only the beginning of their struggles.

As they began to put the pieces of their home back together, the family hired a contractor to put in a furnace for them. And despite the tragedy and deep financial losses they had endured—the contractor cheated them.

He installed the furnace for an outrageous sum (somewhere around $27,000). He then proceeded to charge this family for work they had done themselves, without even providing a quote on the cost of his labor from the get-go.

The family—new to Canada and without the knowledge they needed to protect themselves—had him do the work, only to be billed an astronomical fee later on.

The woman cried as she shared her story with us. Even when we assured her that Samaritan’s Purse would cover the cost to restore her home and offer the family support along the way, she kept repeating—“I cannot pay anything.”

She didn’t believe that we were there to help. And why should she, after being treated so poorly?

I was shocked and angered by their experience. In the aftermath of a disaster, pain and grief are regular companions for survivors—but abuse shouldn’t be part of that equation.

Through the Southern Alberta Restoration Project, our organization and Good Samaritans across our province have the opportunity to fight for people like this family. We are privileged to offer help and hope to people who are hurting, and to walk through this season of life with them.

And as we walk with these families, we also know that God is fighting on their behalf.

Our prayer is that, even as we provide physical and emotional support, God will be powerfully at work in the lives of flood-affected people. May His Spirit knit together new lives for them that are filled with healing, peace, and financial security.

I’m happy to share that the family we met in High River last week will be part of our Southern Alberta Restoration Project, and that we are building trust as we offer them honest and helpful support. But there are so many more families who still need the volunteer hours and donations from people like you so that they can return home.

Do you want to join us in journeying with those still struggling because of the southern Alberta floods? Click here and begin helping to restore lives today.