When Hurricane Irene struck the Upper Valley in 2011, The Upper Valley Haven, an emergency shelter in White River Junction, was there to help those who had lost their homes. Al Carbonneau and his family were among those displaced.
"The flood waters were ankle deep in my driveway. My wife decided to pack up the animals and head out." Carbonneau had been volunteering at The Haven before the hurricane, and never expected to be in a position where he would need to use its services. When they returned to their house a few days later, "everything was covered in mud and thrown all over the place. It was the most devastating thing I've ever experienced in my life."
"The Haven was there for everything we needed." The Haven provided the Carbonneaus a place to stay, food, clothing, and other necessities. A team of volunteers helped the family salvage and clean up what was left of their home, and connected them with services that would help them rebuild.
"If anything good could have come out of something like Irene, it's that people finally realized how much more The Haven is and how much more The Haven does. They were there for everything we needed." But above all, says Carbonneau, "One of the best things they gave us was hope."