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Area groups, agencies respond to victims

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Warren Watkins, a local American Red Cross volunteer, helps prepare a supply trailer filled with blankets and cots at the Red Cross building at Edgewood Center, Tuesday afternoon. The Red Cross is one of many area groups, businesses and agencies involved in the Hurricane Florence relief effort.

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By William F. West, Reggie Ponder and Peter Williams
Adams Publishing Group

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Greater Albemarle Area Chapter of the American Red Cross on Tuesday was loading a trailer of cots to be deployed to a shelter somewhere in the Hurricane Florence-affected area.

For now, it’s a matter of when the phone call comes to get moving. As for a need for volunteers locally, chapter Senior Volunteer Coordinator Carolyn Self said, “Boy, we could always use ‘em.”

Self said the chapter, which is based in the 1400 block of Parkview Drive, needs to be at the ready to transport items to the impacted New Bern and Wilmington areas.

Self said the trailer being loaded on Tuesday can be pulled by a sport utility vehicle donated by the General Motors Foundation. Already, one trailer has been sent south with blankets, cots and ready-to-eat meals, she said.

Because of flooding, most supplies are being flown in until roads and highways can be used.

Self said the wait time to get items in from Elizabeth City by vehicle could be a while, but she noted shelters could be opened more inland, which could create a need from the Greater Albemarle Area chapter.

For those interested in volunteering, the chapter’s phone number is 335-2185.

Meantime, faith-based organizations and churches are mobilizing.

Towne South Church of Christ, off Peartree Road in Pasquotank County, is sending a group of volunteers on Friday to help with hurricane recovery efforts. Towne South sent a truckload of relief supplies this past Sunday and is sending another load of supplies on Friday.

The Towne South work team plans to work on Friday and on Saturday.

As of Tuesday, the church still had room on the bus for more volunteers. Those interested in joining the Towne South work team may phone the church at 338-2248. More information is also available at the church’s Facebook page.

In Currituck County, Moyock United Methodist Church is planning to put together hygiene kits at 6:30 p.m. today in the church fellowship hall. Those wanting more information may phone Moyock United Methodist at 455-7117.

Donations of supplies for the hygiene kits are also needed. For a list of items needed for the hygiene kits, go on the Internet and click on www.umcor.org/umcor/relief-supplies/relief-supply-kits/hygiene or phone the church.

“We would love to have volunteers from Currituck County who want to give back,” said the Rev. Michael Williams, pastor at Moyock United Methodist.

In Perquimans County, Monday morning on the steps of the county courthouse, representatives of many faiths got together to pray for hurricane victims and first responders.

While some are looking to send trucks and vans with supplies, Craig and Leslie Craft of Craft Air Services will be flying down supplies to the New Bern area in a twin-engine plane.

Bagley Swamp Wesleyan Church, in the 400 block of Bagley Swamp Road in Perquimans, is asking for non-perishable foods, along with baby wipes, blankets, bottled water, diapers, flashlights, towels, washcloths, personal hygiene products and first aid kits.

Plans are to send the items to churches in the affected areas, said Todd Kemp, who’s the youth pastor at the church.

The church can be reached by phone at 426-2792. The items will be sent through World Hope International, which can provide the transportation, Kemp said.

Over the next two weeks, the Hertford-based Albemarle Commission Area Agency on Aging will be collecting toiletries, personal hygiene items, self stable foods, including pop-top cans, and cleaning supplies.

Donations will be distributed to the Eastern Carolina Council Area Agency on Aging, which serves older adults in New Bern and the surrounding area.

Items can be dropped off at the Albemarle Commission, which is in the 500 block of South Church Street in Hertford, or at local senior centers.

In Chowan County, the Rev. Chris Aydlett, pastor of Edenton United Methodist Church, is receiving financial donations to assist with hurricane recovery efforts and has plans to put together hygiene kits and cleaning kits.

“Of course, we have also been praying for the victims of this terrible storm,” Aydlett said. “I suspect it will be a long recovery for many folks. God’s grace will prove to be sufficient for a time such as this.”

Across the region’s business community, people are providing drop-off locations in Elizabeth City, Hertford, Edenton and Windsor to help the hurricane victims.

Kathy Perry, of Perry’s Diesel Performance off U.S. 17 southwest of Elizabeth City, said items will be taken on Saturday to the emergency operations center in Craven County for distribution.

Perry said she heard about the drive from Amy Brewer and wanted to play a part. Brewer works at H&R Block in Elizabeth City, which is one of the drop-off sites.

“I saw what she was doing and wanted to help,” Perry said. “We have a 2,500-square-foot showroom at our shop and we offered that to collect things.”

As of Monday, Perry said the showroom was starting to fill up.

Among the items needed in the drive, are cleaning supplies such as bleach, buckets, clothes, gloves and masks. Also needed are baby bottles, baby food, formula, snacks, socks, pacifiers and toys. Also, paper towels, soap, tarps, toilet paper, toothbrushes and toothpaste will be in demand.

Drop off locations include the H&R Block in the 500 block of West Ehringhaus Street in Elizabeth City, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and Perry’s Diesel Performance, from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Other drop-off locations include Eure & Sons Construction in Hertford, the Chowan County Tax Department in Edenton, Able Insurance in Edenton and Kaley Jase Boutique in Windsor.

Also, large donations can be taken to the Food Bank of the Albemarle off Tidewater Way.

Food Bank Executive Director Liz Reasoner on Tuesday said her agency is working with Perry’s Diesel Performance, Brewer and H&R Block to collect the items that are the most in demand, including canned goods, dry shelf-stable food and personal hygiene items.

“Food Bank of the Albemarle has the capacity to store donations and the experience to distribute these resources to the people most in need right now,” Reasoner said in a statement, adding, “A financial donation today will feed the victims of Florence in the weeks and months to come.”

Reasoner emphasized the food bank also is working to respond to the effects of the hurricane throughout northeastern North Carolina. She said several counties in the food bank’s service area received flooding, wind and infrastructure damage and are experiencing difficulties with transportation due to the storm.

In the Harbor of Hospitality, Maj. Kenny Clewis of the Salvation Army of Elizabeth City said he knows his office is going to get the call at some time to go down south with his agency’s canteen to help with longer-term recovery efforts.

The canteen is built like a bread delivery truck, with the ability to be loaded with hundreds of ready-to-feed meals, as well as bread, canned goods. The canteen has an on-board generator and the ability to brew coffee and cook food on site.

Locally, Clewis said residents are welcome to leave personal checks to help the hurricane relief effort at the Elizabeth City Salvation Army Family Thrift Store, in the 600 block of North Hughes Boulevard, or the next-door Elizabeth City Salvation Army Administrative Offices.

The family store is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, while the offices are open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

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