Pasquotank County residents continue working to support victims of Friday’s tornadoes, raising at least $5,000 and other donations at a prayer service at Holy Trinity Community Church Tuesday.
Rivers Community Funeral Home organized the service, which was hosted by 4th Ward City Councilor Darius Horton. Funeral home director Kirk Rivers, himself a former city councilman, said he worked to organize the event for a simple reason — friends and neighbors who had experienced loss were in need.
“We as Christians have to take care of our own community,” Rivers said.
Horton added that “love is not what love is, love is what love does,” meaning people needed to show their support for their fellow Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County residents.
Local first responders, including city electric workers and police as well as the local volunteers with the American Red Cross, responded admirably during the storm, Horton said. But they are still stretched thin, he said, responding to a storm that inflicted much harm on northeastern North Carolina.
According to the National Weather Service, three tornadoes carved a path from Chowan through Pasquotank counties. The storms destroyed dozens of homes, injured more than a dozen people and led to an infant’s death in Chowan County.
Horton said Tuesday’s service let victims sign up for assistance, be it financial or otherwise. The community responded with donations of money as well as clothing, food and basic necessities.
One donor, Stephen Lilly, said he decided to donate to the effort despite the fact his own house, in the Queenswood subdivision, was damaged in the storm. He got off light compared to some of his fellow county residents, he explained, and said he wanted to help.
He donated some of his late wife’s clothes to the service. Renna Lilly passed away three years ago, he said, and he’s since honored her memory by donating her clothes to worthy causes as he encounters them.
Event organizer Gabriel Adkins said at least 40 families had signed up for help by the time the service started.
Horton’s fellow 4th Ward City Councilor, Montravias King, also offered remarks during the service, praising the community for coming together in the storm’s aftermath.
Attending the service as well were two major first responders to the storm, Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Management Coordinator Christy Saunders and Greater Albemarle Area Red Cross Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Self.
Self said her chapter is “really stretched” right now helping families afford food, shelter and other necessities lost in the storm. It’s spent at least $40,000 helping families so far, she estimated, and there’s a lot of tornado season and hurricane season to go.
Self said she and her volunteers would be in Elizabeth City’s Meadowlands Mobile Home Park tonight providing hot meals and other items. For more information or to learn how to donate, call the Red Cross’s Elizabeth City office at 335-2185.
Self thanked the community for its support Tuesday night, but cut her remarks short due to learning of a tornado warning in nearby counties. The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for Pasquotank, Perquimans and Chowan counties Tuesday afternoon, but lifted the watch in those counties at 6:14 p.m.
In Elizabeth City on Tuesday, power was only fully restored to those still without it, according to Electric Superintendent Karl Clow. He said there remain localized outages where homes were destroyed or severely damaged and it’s not yet safe to turn on power for them. Out-of-town electric crews called in Friday and Saturday were set to start leaving town Tuesday.