Evacuees create community at Lincoln High storm shelter
The unusually heavy rain last week found its way through the cracks in Jackie Jo Lopez’s ceiling and under her door, flooding her home. It pushed garden dirt into her Logan Heights flower shop, knocked over supplies and left it ruined.
No longer able to run her flower shop or sleep in her home, Lopez sought refuge at the Red Cross shelter at Lincoln High School, where rain poured down again on Thursday.
She said she has no flood insurance. Just weeks away from Valentine’s Day — her biggest day of sales all year — she couldn’t fill any orders.
She brought what flowers remained — red roses and lilies — to give to the others at the shelter. Some cheer in a sad situation, she said.
“I’m trying to keep my spirits high and trying to see how resilient, and how we’re going to get out of this situation,” she said. “All of us together.”
There, she made friends with Tanika Darden, who said she was homeless when last week’s storm hit.
“We didn’t have anything,” Darden said. “We didn’t have anywhere to go.”
Darden said she’s grateful for Lopez and the other evacuees, who are forming a support system for each other.
She said she’s determined to help Lopez save her business.
She reached over and pulled up the plastic hood of Lopez’s rain poncho to cover her hair.
“We’re going to help each other, because we’re all in it together,” Lopez said.
Lopez’s two dogs, Lilly Rose and Paquito, stay inside her florist van outside the shelter.
In the back is a single metal cart Lopez salvaged.
“I'm going to put my little cart somewhere and we're going to sell flowers for Valentine's Day,” she said as Darden nodded in support. “We’re going to pull through.”
“There’s a blessing through every storm,” Darden said. “No matter what, we’re smiling, and we have each other.”
They waited for a bus to arrive which would relocate the evacuees to the city’s new shelter at Balboa Park, together.