While the Center was closed, I took the opportunity to go around town the week of Sept 23 and see what other places were doing to provide assistance:
- The Salvation Army Shelter had incurred significant damage. They had to relocate all their residents to other shelters. They had started making plans to operate out of their church on Third St to be able to provide assistance.
- Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard was getting ready to re-open; they planned on working 10-2 the remainder of the week, or as long as their supplies lasted.
- The Help Hub was readying to receive guests the next day; they expected greater volumes than usual and were making plans to be able to handle a crowd.
- The FoodBank on Marstellar St was in full Disaster Recovery mode. They, too, provide help to several counties. Their retail donation program, where they take their box truck out to retail stores to pickup donations, was not back in gear yet; since the truck was free, they were helping by loading food from their warehouse and delivering it where needed. I spoke with them to understand our options for getting food once we open again.
- The Dreamz Center at 9th and Fanning had been turned into an emergency relief center. They were gathering food and supplies and distributing throughout the community.
- Catholic Charities was really busy organizing donations. They told me they were getting in truckloads of supplies each day and they had a large team of people working at their warehouse to organize everything. Their office location also had a large volume of supplies. They work with all the areas within the Cape Fear Deanery, the counties of Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover, and Pender. They were taking orders from groups that needed supplies; they pack it at the warehouse and have it ready for pickup. They also were doing some deliveries. They were in the process of planning two distribution events – one in Hampstead then one in Burgaw.
Later in the week, I was able to spend more time with Catholic Charities. On the 25th, a few of us from the Center went up to Hampstead to work with the event held at All Saints. Their parishioners had donated a huge amount of supplies, and Catholic Charities arrived with their trucks fully loaded. Hot food was served and the much needed supplies were distributed. My job that day was to do triage, speaking to victims of the storm to understand their circumstances and understand their need; I heard many sad stories. I spent the next day at the Catholic Charities office in town folding children’s clothes and readying them for the trip to Burgaw.
On Friday, I drove up to St Joseph Church in Burgaw for the next event. We had hundreds of people come through the doors for help. Again, we served hot food and distributed supplies. One of the most requested items was tarps – I can’t begin to imagine how much damage their homes have incurred.
As of this writing, my volunteers and I are all anxiously awaiting to re-open the Center when it is ready. We are being blessed with a visit with Sr Isaac this week; we can all use a dose of her encouragement.
Special Need: Thank you for holding on to your donations until we re-open.