MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Millions of people were able to evacuate Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma, and many of them came to the Mid-South to escape.
There are nine people from Florida staying at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis. They have no idea what they will go home to or when, but for now, they are thankful to have made it out alive and have a roof over their head.
"We tailgated up to Tallahassee, slept in the car a little bit, and upon getting to Tallahassee, realized it wasn't safe," Tampa Bay native Eric Gerhardt said.
He said their journey north was unimaginable.
"Hectic to say the least. Fuel shortages abound, there was no water to be had, people were fighting over water when shipments would come in," Gerhardt said.
They ended up at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church--a shelter right now for evacuees in partnership with Shelby Cares.
While here, they've already made friends, Roberta Jenkins and Trent Spencer, who came up with Roberta's son on a greyhound bus. They walked from the bus station near the airport to midtown to get here.
"When we left home, we had nothing. No penny to our name," Jenkins said. "I appreciate the Red Cross with all my heart. I give them all the respect for being there for us. If it weren't from them, we don't know where we'd be."
Both families are worried about their family who decided to ride out the Hurricane Irma.
"Everyone's lives are just torn apart. They had to leave everything they know," Gerhardt said.
The families at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church have found a bit of comfort together.
"I feel like God sent all five of us here for a reason, to make each other feel more welcome and home," Jenkins said.