Holiday Inn Shelter

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A local hotel has become a haven for evacuees of Hurricane Katrina. The community has come together in a time of need and evacuees say the response has been overwhelming.

In the wake of a tragedy, the Holiday Inn in Thomasville has opened its doors to evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. The hotel along with organizations, churches and businesses are providing a home for those who have lost everything.

Keith Gibson, who evacuated from Mississippi, says, "They've gone above and beyond. It's unreal. It's overwhelming. I don't cry very easily, and they break me down daily with the amount of love."

For the past week, different companies and businesses have given free hot meals to evacuees, and the invitation is extended to other evacuees in surrounding communities.

Sheila Currie, who evacuated from Mississippi, says, "This tragedy has really given every community, every human being an opportunity to show God's love and just to pour that upon everyone they meet, and we have definitely experienced that here since we've been here."

For many evacuees, this hotel, this hallway, rooms like these have become their home, and they say they are very grateful that in a time of need, Thomasville has reached out.

Adela Ortiz-Smith, who evacuated from Louisiana, says, "We are very, very grateful and we will miss our extended family here at the Holiday Inn."

Madeleine Breeden, who evacuated from Mississippi, adds, "We'll come back. We'll rebuild, and life goes on. You know, you carry your home in here."

No one is giving up hope. Instead, these people are thankful for what they have and plan to get back to the way life was before Hurricane Katrina.

The Holiday Inn is collecting food, money and clothing for evacuees. The hotel is using one of its banquet rooms as a drop-off site.