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Towne South volunteers on a mission of aid to storm victims

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Volunteers Joshua Fields and Shawna Keel package personal hygiene products for hurricane Florence relief at Towne South Church in Elizabeth City on Friday.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Volunteers from Towne South Church of Christ are in New Bern today extending helping hands to people devastated by flooding from Hurricane Florence.

A group of 35 volunteers left the church Friday morning for New Bern, where they planned to split into four work teams to work Friday and Saturday.

The work started even before that, after 20 or so other volunteers gathered at the church around 6 p.m. Thursday to package supplies to be taken to Two Rivers Church in New Bern, the church Towne South is partnering with on the aid project.

The volunteers plan to be back sometime Saturday night after two days of gutting houses, sawing trees, building shelters, and preparing meals for relief workers.

The supplies that the Towne South group was delivering include 80 large buckets — 40 empty buckets and 40 pre-packed with cleaning supplies — disposable diapers, underwear, towels and assorted cleaning supplies.

Jonathan Snoots, an associate minister at Towne South, explained that the church’s response began right away on Sunday, with members of the congregation bringing relief supplies to the church and a small group delivering the supplies Sunday afternoon to a partner church in Belhaven. It was also announced at the morning worship service on Sunday that the church would be setting up a trip for Friday.

Snoots said that since Monday he had been using email messages and Facebook posts to update church members and others who were interested in the church’s storm response. People from the church and others who have heard about the effort have donated a large quantity of relief supplies as well as money he was able to use to buy additional items that were needed, he said.

Lowe’s offered a discount for relief supplies that were bought there, Snoots said.

Mid-Atlantic Christian University is sending 20 pallets of water, Snoots added.

Shawna Keel, a member at Towne South, said she was working Friday and wouldn’t be able to go with the work teams to New Bern, but was glad to help out Thursday evening packaging supplies. She said her neighbors on Church Street had been bringing items to her house since learning of the church’s plan to send relief supplies and volunteers to New Bern.

A lot of people have been bringing things to her house and are glad to help out in that way, she said.

Keel said generosity is a natural outgrowth of Christian faith.

“I feel like that what we do for others we will get back tenfold,” Keel said. “And you can never give too much to someone in need.”

And helping people in need is a visible, concrete way of demonstrating love and witnessing to the love of God, she said.

“This is our way of showing God’s love to people,” Keel said. “We might have people that are unbelievers that we reach out to and this might change their whole outlook.”

Snoots said the trip this weekend was in no way the end of the church’s involvement in the relief effort.

“We’ll probably go again,” Snoots said.

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