By Carrie Hunter
There are good people in this world and there is hope. Months after most people have forgotten about the victims of Hurricane Michael, a woman named Jodie Moseley journeys into remote parts of Northwest Florida to help people who were never in the public eye to begin with. She often travels alone into wooded areas looking for those that need help.
Jodie is disabled and a mother of five. She’s also a quintessential feisty southern woman dedicated to her community. After the storm, she saw her community was suffering and because her own home suffered less damage than many of her neighbors, she decided to help them.
Some of the families she helps have small children living in tents and elderly people living without electricity. Many of these people have struggled to figure out complicated paperwork required by nonprofits and FEMA. Jodie sits down with many of them to help sort the tedious paperwork, even though she is not a lawyer or social worker. She helped at least one family get legal aid help from a nonprofit to fight FEMA.
Jodie often starts her day at Innovative Charities in Marianna. She doesn’t work for the nonprofit, but they help her get supplies. She picks up fans, shoes, and other items for the families she visits. Many days she buys gas at Walmart to fuel generators for elderly who still don’t have power hooked back up due to code requirements.
She drives down old clay roads, past broken down shacks to reach families that no one sees. One family she visits recently moved out of a tent into a partially built house that has a roof and plywood walls, but little else. Ten people lived in one tent for months because they couldn’t afford anything more.
Part of the family comes out to meet her, but a child can be heard crying from the half-built house. They still don’t have indoor plumbing, which forces them to bathe outside. Jodie is working with religious organizations to find them beds and a stove. Another family is unsure how to combat mold that is slowly taking over their house from a hole in their roof, and Jodie tells them how to clean it with hydrogen peroxide. She warns against using bleach because it can kick up mold spores.
Even though Jodie is not volunteering with a church, she says her faith has been important to keep going. The lack of resources, FEMA’s slowness, and the lack of interest from politicians made her frustrated. Some days she wasn’t sure if she could keep going. She believes that political leaders need to spend time driving down the back roads and meeting the real people who are struggling instead of visiting one or two places that are not as damaged.
Jodie says that this has always been her home and always will be her home. She’s going to stay and fight for it.
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