SLIDELL- The signs and smell of flames and smoke still linger in and around the Acker family trailer in Slidell, three days after it caught fire.
"I was at Bible study at my church and at 8 o'clock, we left," recalled Laura Acker. "On the way home, we seen fire trucks en route somewhere and come to find out it was my house up in flames."
Even though family, friends and the Red Cross came to their aid with support, finding a temporary home for two adults and four children, ages 15 years to five months, became an unexpected challenge.
"The Red Cross man came out to help us get in a hotel and due to Mardi Gras, the hotels were booked," said Acker.
Once word spread about the trouble, a call was made to the Northshore Disaster Recovery Group, or Epworth Project, which immediately stepped up to help.
"I had a conversation with Dale Kimball with the Northshore Recovery group, last week,” said Chad Duffaut with St. Tammany Fire District #1, “He told me if we ever had any fire victims that needed assistance to notify him, he had a place for them to stay."
"This is a perfect opportunity to use the facility that we built for what it was built for, to house a family that's in crisis," said Dale Kimball, Executive Director of Northshore Disaster Recovery, Inc. and the Epworth Project.
"We called so many people for help, and no one would help,” said Acker, “But for you to make a simple call and there's help on the other end.. words can't even explain how I feel to know that it's not the end."
And the family’s new beginning can start three miles from home.
She said, "I have faith and I know that as long as I walk in faith, everything is going to be okay."
While their stay with the organization includes a roof, basic clothes and food, the family of six is still in need of long-term clothing, especially uniforms for the children.
Sizes for the family include: Mother- 20 to 22 Women, Father- 46 Men, 15-yr-old girl- 5 Junior, 10-yr-old girl- 12 Junior, 5-year-old boy- 6T, 5-month-old girl- 12mths
All donations can be dropped off at New Beginning Ministry at 36196 Oceola St. in Slidell. Contact Minister Carol Hughes (985-640-3156) or Pastor Frankie Hughes (504-615-9346) or Laura Acker (985-710-0770).
A benefit will be held for the family Friday, March 2 at 6 p.m., also at New Beginning Ministry Church.