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Party held for homeless baby born in wake of Hurricane Michael

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Lorrainda Smith, feeds her two-day-old son Luke out of the back of her pickup truck while preparing to spend the first night out of the hospital with her newborn and husband Wilmer Capps in a parking lot in Panama City, Fla., Oct. 15, as their home was badly damaged from Hurricane Michael. “One day we had it all, the next we had nothing,” added Smith. “This is not what I thought I’d be bringing him back to.”

PANAMA CITY, Fla. >> The family of a baby who spent his first night out of the hospital in a Walmart parking lot after Hurricane Michael just got a surprise baby shower.

The happy event happened at a Walmart near the store where the family hunkered down in those dark days following the Category 4 storm.

Wilmer Capps, his wife Lorrainda Smith and their baby Luke were surprised today after they were told to show up at the Walmart for a hurricane recovery meeting.

They were greeted with the best news they’ve had in a while: a year’s supply of diapers, a food voucher, and a cake with rubber duckies on it that said, “Walmart loves Luke.”

“It was a real big surprise,” said Smith, a Panama City native.

The family’s home was damaged, as was much of the Florida Panhandle city. On baby Luke’s first night out of the hospital, the family hunkered down in the back of their pickup in the parking lot, because they were low on gas and fearful of driving at night with a curfew in place.

After that night, they got help finding a room in a hotel where several Walmart employees were staying. Other store workers and a company truck driver have helped them with necessities since then.

“These people needed help. The baby needed to be cool. You could tell they were all three hot and tired and hungry. We offered everything we had,” said Nick Davis, the Walmart truck driver, who met the family at the hotel when he brought a mobile shower unit for the company employees. The hotel didn’t have electricity or running water at that time. “I was just trying to ease their mind. They were very stressed out.”

The family is staying in another hotel now, having received two free weeks. Smith isn’t sure what they’ll do long-term; Capps is looking for work.

“We’re taking it day by day, minute by minute,” she said.

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