A home away from home for Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services team

Published 11:33 am Wednesday, September 23, 2020

To The Leader

Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) volunteers have been staying at Anayat House, a non-profit organization that provides overnight accommodations for family members of patients in Beaumont area hospitals. Currently closed for renovations, the owners received word that The Salvation Army volunteers needed somewhere to stay and generously offered to open their doors.

“We flooded during Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019 and had more than eight inches of water in the house. Unfortunately, we’ve been unable to open for the guests we normally serve because of ongoing renovations and since March have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tressa Clarke, Executive Director of Anayat House. “After Hurricane Laura hit, we heard from the United Way of Beaumont that The Salvation Army needed somewhere to house their disaster relief team. Even though we’re not completely through with renovations I knew how much a soft bed and hot shower would mean to the relief workers. We are delighted to help.”

Several years ago, Anayat Moujazeb lay dying in his hospital bed after suffering an abdominal aneurysm. His daughter, Mimi Daniali, stayed by his side in his hospital room. During that time Mimi met several others who were in a similar position as herself and caring for ailing family members while in the hospital. Mimi bonded with these individuals, saw a significant need, and wanted to provide housing solutions for these families to minimize both the financial burden and mental toll they face.

Shortly after her father died, Mimi found a four-bedroom house for sale one block away from St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont. She purchased the house, renovated the entire property, and paid for everything out of pocket. Twenty-six years later, the Anayat House has expanded to accommodate more than 12 individuals at a time. Each suite has a bathroom/shower unit, two-beds, a small refrigerator and snack bar. The property also includes a large sitting room, dining room, kitchen, outdoor patio and free laundry facilities.

Twelve Salvation Army volunteers stayed at Anayat House throughout their 14-day deployment, from September 6-19. “Tressa and her team offered the property to us at minimal cost,” said Kathleen Kouns, EDS Volunteer and Training Coordinator for The Salvation Army in Texas. “The Anayat House is regularly cleaned for us, free of charge, and amenities are provided. We are so grateful to have such a comfortable place available for our volunteers to rest and recharge after long, hot days serving those impacted by Hurricane Laura. We pray that Anayat House will soon be able to return to its mission of supporting those enduring the stress, expense and heartache of medical crisis.”

In response to Hurricane Laura The Salvation Army of Texas has provided 143,909 meals, 61,758 snacks and 90,694 drinks. Additionally, 3,219 food boxes, 1,242 clean up kits, and 3,529 infant supplies were distributed to those affected by the storm.

“We may not be able to help the people we normally serve, but we can help those who are working so hard to get other people back on their feet,” said Clarke. “Just because there is a natural disaster doesn’t mean accidents stop happening or cancer subsides, or heartaches quit – there’s no discrimination there. It has been our pleasure to have the hard-working volunteers of The Salvation Army stay with us because we know they are truly doing God’s work.”