As you know, our campus was a victim of Hurricane Florence. I’d like to give you a recap of the impact on the Center and our current status.
On the Tuesday before the storm, my volunteers and I worked diligently to do the best we could to prepare for the impending storm. We have a very large space downstairs: 8000+ square feet, containing a large inventory of items. Our focus was clearing as much of the floor as we could, raising up as much as possible, clearing out trash and recycles. We left for the day, hoping we were as prepared as we could be.
Then a few days later, the storm came our way. I’m told the winds actually raised the roof on the middle of the north side of the building. The water then made its way into the Upper Room, then fell down into the Bookstore and then finally into the Center, primarily in the clothing area. The ceiling gave in across the room, and the water poured in. Many of the clothes were wet or damaged from building materials.
The housewares department had its own flooding problems with water covering the floor and back wall. The food department was mostly dry, but since the power had been out for a period of time, all the food in freezers or fridges was lost. The good news was the south side of the space was intact – the reception room, children’s clothes, shoe room, and all our storage rooms were dry.
Once things started settling down several days after the storm and I knew some of us could safely travel in, I put out a call to my volunteers to gather on Sept 20 to see what we could do to help with cleanup. Over a dozen people came in and started mopping and cleaning, running shop-vacs. I’m sure we removed hundreds of gallons of water as well as bags and bags of trash.
We resumed efforts the next day, this time focusing on the clothes. We sorted all the hanging clothes into three categories – dry and clean items were moved to another room; damaged, extremely wet items were trashed; damp items worth rescuing were bagged up and sent to people’s homes to be laundered. They were sent out to about 20 different homes.
The next step was for us to leave and put it in the hands of the professionals. They came with heavy equipment to do some demolition and run de-humidifiers; subsequently, another team will come in to do the repairs. By the time you read this, I’m hoping the work is well on its way.
In the meantime, the Center will remain closed until we can operate safely. My hope is that by Oct 1 we will have a partial opening to start back with food distribution and financial assistance; gradually we will then get back to full operation.
Due to the work ahead of us to get things back in order, we have found it necessary to postpone the Oct 6-7 Yard Sale; watch for a new date to be announced soon. Additionally, we unfortunately have to cancel our upcoming Quarter Auction; we’ll try again sometime next year.