MVK Responds to Tropical Storm Hilary

Over this past weekend, Southern California experienced rain and street flooding as Hurricane Hilary made its way through the Coachella Valley. As many families and individuals barricaded themselves in their homes, the Valley’s homeless population was left at risk seeking shelter from the storm.

Martha’s Village & Kitchen’s staff wasted no time expanding our cooling centers, transporting homeless individuals and families to both our Indio and Palm Springs Access Center location, to get them to safety. The MVK Team worked day and night over the course of the storm, taking time away from their own families during the storm, to provide shelter, food, and reassurance from the tropical chaos that ensued the Coachella Valley. In the midst of the destruction, Martha’s Village & Kitchen’s team was able to ensure success for 3 unhoused families by providing them with housing and reunited others with their out-of-state family.

Marcella Gomez and her 8-year-old daughter had been living in their car for the past 6 months. During Hurricane Hillary, the Wraparound Services team offered Marcella and her daughter overnight emergency shelter to keep them safe. Marcella and her daughter stayed over for one night. That same night, Wraparound Services informed the housing program manager about the family’s needs and was able to provide a room for the family the next day. Now, Marcella and her 8-year-old daughter are safely housed in Martha’s Village and Kitchen, and are looking forward to getting back on their feet and acquiring permanent housing with the help of her case management team. 

Herman Hernandez was living in the streets for 3 months. He came to the valley with a friend in search of a work opportunity that fell through. Since then, he had been living in the streets, trying to find a way back home to his wife and kids in Crane TX. The Wraparound Services team picked him up from Indio Blvd and took him into Martha’s Village and Kitchen, where he spent a night in our emergency Hurricane Hillary Shelter. The next day, the Wraparound services team was able to get him a Greyhound Bus Ticket to Crane TX, to reunify with his family. Both Herman and his wife Veronica were grateful to Martha’s Village and Kitchen for their support through these tough times.

Words from MVK CEO Sam Hollenbeck

I hope anyone that was in the valley this weekend is doing well and moving past Tropical Storm Hilary.

Hilary posed some huge challenges to the homeless community, with not only miserable weather to have to be out in, but also the real threat of flash floods which could have proved deadly for homeless individuals that were camping in the storm drain areas, under bridges, etc.

Martha’s staff stepped up big time over the weekend and expanded our services to those most vulnerable, while some organizations were closing down. They did so at the expense of being home with their families. It is the constant selflessness of our managers and staff that put MVK in a class of our own.

As the Desert Sun said, every time the community is in need, MVK steps up and fills the gaps.

It was a trying weekend for the valley, but MVK came through for those in need.

— Sam Hollenbeck – CEO