How Hebrew Free Loan is helping Jewish Families after Flooding in the Metro Detroit Area: Estie Gomez’s story

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On Aug. 11, 2014, many southeast Michigan residents were victims of a flood caused by torrential rainstorms.  Many people had to deal with waterlogged basements and destroyed personal, sentimental possessions. The water was so deep in some of these basements that even items carefully placed in plastic bins with lids were ruined.

 

This was the case of Estie Gomez.

 

Hebrew Free Loan Metro Detroit Flood Story

Estie Gomez and her family

 

ESTIE’S STORY: THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD

 

Estie was coming home from work as her husband was going out to see a client.  As they crossed paths, Estie’s husband told her to call a roofing company since there was a leak in the kitchen ceiling.  The roofer, referred to her by her sister-in-law, was going to come out to take a look at the roof in the next couple of days.  Later on, Estie’s sister-in-law texted her again to say that her basement was flooding.  Estie was so concerned with the roof that she never thought to look in the basement.

 

Estie told her husband to take a look at the basement.  She heard him say, “Our basement is flooding!”  In disbelief, Estie said, “Don’t joke.”

 

Her husband responded, “I’m not joking.”  At this point, the water had already reached the top of the bottom step, about six inches.  They both rushed down to the basement to turn off the air conditioner and fuse box.  They were in shock at what they saw.

 

The baby gear, toys and books were floating in the water.  The mobile Estie used with both of her young children was swirling around in the rising water.

 

As she was trying to process the horrific scene, a plastic bin filled with her deceased mother’s cookbooks and hand-written recipes tipped over into the water.  Estie was heartbroken to see the irreplaceable family heirlooms drifting in the water.

 

Hebrew Free Loan Metro Detroit Flood Story

Damage from the flood

 

FLOOD AFTERMATH

 

The water eventually receded and even though Estie contacted restoration companies, she never heard back.

 

Their furnace, which was making strange noises, needed to be serviced and they had no hot water.  They tried to relight the pilot light, but could not do it.  A service man came out to relight it and saw the soggy mess in the basement.  He knew someone who could help them clear out their basement and by Friday, they hired the man to help them bring everything up and out of their basement.

 

By Sunday, Estie and her husband started to sanitize their basement.  They worked with two hoses to rinse away the sewage and proceeded to bleach everything they could such as their silver, cups and glasses.  Boxes of photos and the beloved family recipes were set out to dry.  Unfortunately, many things could not be salvaged such as sweaters, baby clothes and school projects.

 

Hebrew Free Loan Metro Detroit Flood Story

This was part of the garbage. More bags were added.

 

REACHING OUT TO HEBREW FREE LOAN

 

Estie was completely overwhelmed with cleaning and sanitizing the basement when the roofer shared his upsetting news: Estie would need to replace the entire roof on their home.

 

The money they saved for their summer vacation (which was supposed to be that same week) was not enough to cover the roof.  The kids were disappointed about vacation plans being altered and Estie and her husband were frustrated that the time they set aside for vacation and to celebrate their ninth anniversary was going to be spent repairing the house.

 

Broken and devastated, Estie reached out to Hebrew Free Loan.

 

 

NOT JUST A NUMBER

 

The process for the interest-free loan was carried out quickly.  By the end of the week, Estie and her husband had a meeting and were approved for a loan.  The meeting was not just a quick run of numbers; Estie said her family appreciated the warm and compassionate treatment they received. They were treated like people, not just a number, she said.

 

Hebrew Free Loan was able to lift the weight off of Estie’s shoulders.  With Hebrew Free Loan’s help, they were able to put a new roof on their house.

 

As of the second week of September, Hebrew Free Loan has approved 36 interest-free loans, which added up to a total of $265,000, for flood victims.  As always, the agency is standing by to assist Jewish families in this time of need and loss.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

 

For more information on how to get help, please visit our website  or call us at 248-723-8184.  We can also be reached via email at info@hfldetroit.org.

 

To learn more about our mission, upcoming activities, or other ways we help the Jewish community, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

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