JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Little did Rachael Melo know, the art she sold as a hobby, mainly to military spouses, would help keep her military spouse and 4-year-old son afloat.
"All I could think about is how our normal is gone," Melo said.
Melo's normal life became anything but after Hurricane Irma. Irma not only hurt business at Creative Grain Studio at 1814 Hendricks Ave., it left almost two feet of water inside her San Marco home. She lost furniture, dressers, beds and even her wedding dress.
"It was clear how bad it had gotten because things that were in a back room had made their way through the kitchen and they were sitting at my back door," Melo said.
To make things worse, Melo's lease was up. Her landlord decided to clean the place up and sell the home to someone else.
"I think the toughest thing to lose was our home," she said.
After finding out last week that her insurance wouldn't cover any of her losses, Melo started making her Jacksonville and Florida themed art to help raise money for her family post-Irma.
"I sat down, I stayed here until 2:30 in the morning the first night the electric came on and I just made signs," she said.
Since Friday when she started selling them, Melo said the response has been overwhelming.
"I'm shipping to Colorado, Tampa, Orlando and North Carolina tomorrow so, really excited," she said.
Now Melo has a new predicament: keeping up with demand. She said the result of her art hit home during a trip to Target.
"I was buying socks and underwear for my son that he desperately needed and I was so fortunate that other people have come to help us to do that," she said.
If you're interested in any of Melo's art, send her an e-mail at OCMSigns@gmail.com.
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