I Am Waters

Today is 04.08.2020

An Unexpected Response: I Am Waters 2012 Delivery

The I Am Waters Team and I have had the honor and privilege of meeting, photographing and interviewing hundreds of homeless women, children and men over the past three years.

I Am Waters Foundation (IAW) Summer 2012 delivery was a continuation of our previous summer experiences, with an unexpected twist. Summer 2012 delivery included a planned expansion to New Orleans, bringing IAW to a total of four delivery territories; Houston, Austin & Ft. Worth, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana. Our newest shelter partners are Covenant House New Orleans (CHNO) and New Orleans Rescue Mission (NORM).

The Unexpected Twist: Disaster Relief Support

It has been said that one can never know what life will bring and how God will use us once we make ourselves available to be of service. IAW experienced this firsthand on two separate occasions this summer. After making our delivery to New Orleans Rescue Mission in June, IAW received an emergency request from NORM for more water, post Hurricane Isaac.

Isaac left NORM without power (A/C in August) and their surrounding resource providers depleted of bottled water for their homeless clients. We sent a truck load of water (38,016 bottles) to NORM which they shared with Covenant House. Our bottles of water are the first line of defense against heat related injuries and death over the hottest parts of the summer for all our 22 shelter partners.

New Orleans Rescue Mission Thank You Note, September 27, 2012

You guys are incredible! We are so grateful during Hurricane Isaac our water supply dwindled to nothing. We were housing 300 guests a day with no electricity and it was extremely hot. We tried many of our local providers and all of them were out, but I AM WATERS delivered you guys are great!”

I Am Waters’ second unexpected delivery was to New York to provide disaster relief support to Hurricane Sandy survivors. IAW delivered two truckloads (76,032 bottles) of water to Guyon Rescue Center, in Staten Island, New York and to Catholic Charities in Far Rockaway, Long Island.

My small team and I spent a week in both areas delivering door-to-door, after unloading the truck that drove up from Texas. A very special thanks goes to Wagner College Football team for unloading the Staten Island truck delivery, and to the tireless Catholic Charities volunteers at Far Rockaway.

The areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy looked like a war zone; tears, pain, PTSD, whole families left homeless/displaced, hungry, cold and thirsty. The need for water was immense; however, the need for the word on the bottle was just as necessary, if not more.

We went from door-to-door in Staten Island delivering cases of water to folks who were either too traumatized to help themselves, afraid of leaving their homes for supplies because of looters, or just stranded due to being without gasoline.

Each and every person either stood motionless in their tracks or simply broke into tears upon seeing the word on the bottle: HOPE, PEACE, LOVE and DREAM

One S.I. Resident said, “Oh my God, Oh my God, this is a sign and blessing from God! I haven’t been able to go to church in two weeks so, I just pray and pray by myself. Oh my God, this is a blessing this word of HOPE on the bottle. Thank you! Thank you!” Children admired their bottles against the sunlight and used the logo (a heart with a water drop) as a spyglass to look through.

The overwhelming gratitude with which the folks we served received their bottles of water was a thing of beauty. An outpouring of blessings was showered upon us. How can people who just lost everything (in some cases family members) be so grateful and appreciative? While this response was surely unexpected, I have witnessed it before in the homeless shelters where IAW delivers.

When one has lost everything and life has shaken us to the very bottom, there in lies a sacred space, where the opening to the deepest part of our soul/spirit lives. Our persona’s, perceived grievances, and problems are all put into perspective and through this new perspective an invitation to examine how we are connected to God and each other. The strongest part of the human spirit can be seen within the absence of worldly possessions. As if to say–We are not any of the things that we’ve lost and now, within the clearing, “Seeing” is easier.

The content and conversation from those displaced by disasters is often: my house, my car, my pets, my neighborhood, my sanity, my routine….

The content and conversation from those displaced by homelessness is often: my job, my sanity, my home, my car, my health, my money, my wife, my husband…

3.5 million homeless people and ten’s of thousands of disaster survivors currently defined by the outline above and yet stand as living testimonials to the fact that we are more.

Losing “things” is sometimes the way we find our way back to ourselves.

Some of the strongest, smartest, wisest and most loving people I have met have been at shelters for homelessness and rescue camps for disaster relief. I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the simple Words on IAW bottles create emotional and spiritual changes in the people who drink from them.

A word of inspiration transcends one’s immediate circumstances and water keeps our bodies alive and thriving. Two of the most basic needs a human being has, addressed in one moment; Physical and Spiritual hydration.

I Am Waters Foundation wrapped up 2012 having crossed a milestone of delivering its one millionth bottle to those who’ve needed it most.

I would like to personally thank all of the donors, volunteers and I Am Waters team for making it possible to be of service over the past three years.