Many have donated needed supplies, food and water to the places in Sampson County hardest hit by Hurricane Florence. That effort was ongoing this week with deliveries from the heart of the county, as people in Ivanhoe opened the doors to the town’s community building to ensure the donated supplies got to the people who need them most.
The Clinton Fire Department and Clinton Police Department teamed up for a supplies drive for the people of Ivanhoe and Ingold, putting the word out last Friday and collecting household items, non-perishable food and personal hygiene items over the weekend — a tremendous response that helped fill a trailer taken to the southern end of the county.
Clinton Police Chief Donald Edwards said the cache of non-perishable food, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, First Aid kits, bottled water, beverages and baby items were destined for the Ivanhoe and Ingold communities after being collected at a drop-off point in Harrells.
CPD Administrative Specialist Belinda Parker mentioned organizing a collection late last week for the areas heavily impacted by Florence, and the ball was rolling. The Clinton Fire Department quickly joined in the effort. Items were collected through noon Monday.
The result was overwhelming, police and fire officials said, as items were separated at the fire station Monday and a trailer filled to be transported to a Harrells church for distribution.
“This all started Friday,” said Edwards, looking over the many items being sorted out by police officers and firefighters inside the bay at Clinton Fire Department on Wall Street. “This is awesome, from just over the weekend. We appreciate everyone’s effort to help and assist those in need and affected by Hurricane Florence.”
Clinton Fire Chief Stephen Lovette echoed that sentiment.
“We are using our station here to collect the items given to the Clinton Police Department and Clinton Fire Department,” said Lovette. “These will be used to fulfill a need in the community and make sure people in Sampson County are taken care of. There are lots of needs, but this is for those people in Ivanhoe.”
“We have a trailer-load of stuff here just to make sure those needs are met,” the fire chief stated.
Many similar efforts were ongoing throughout the county for Ivanhoe and Ingold, where waters from two different rivers crested last week, putting homes, churches and livelihoods underwater. The floodwaters began to recede, but not before fracturing roads and leaving ruin in their wake.
Around the same time a shipment courtesy of Clinton’s first responders was headed south, Commissioner Harry Parker and County Manager Ed Causey, along with N.C. National Guard Bravo 51, delivered 48 Red Cross cleanup kits, 84 cases of water, 150 personal hygiene kits and 812 MREs (Meals Ready-To-Eat) to the Ivanhoe Community Building.
Ivanhoe community leaders Henry Burney and Russell Devane accepted the supplies and immediately began distributing them. The Ivanhoe Community Building on Dr. Kerr Road — itself one of the many washed-out roadways in Sampson — has been open on a daily basis for supply distribution throughout this week and that was tentatively expected to continue through Saturday.
That went on in earnest until Wednesday, before beginning to taper off Thursday, Burney said. He said Thursday that the distribution point at the Ivanhoe Community Building mostly consisted of cleaning supplies and water at this point.
“It wound down (Wednesday),” said Burney of the distribution effort. “People are going back to work and everybody has the lights on at this point. Whatever we have left, we are giving it out. Cleaning supplies are still being given out for anybody that comes in, and we still have water.”
Burney, an Ivanhoe native, said the recovery will be ongoing but said he was impressed by the response to the town’s needs, saying that local groups, churches and others were “exceptionally good to us.” Born and raised in Ivanhoe, Burney said he never experience anything like Florence and the floodwaters that accompanied it.
“This was worst that anything I’ve seen here,” said Burney, noting that it could have been even more devastating. He again expressed his thanks for donations and the resolute members of Ivanhoe and surrounding communities. “We’re still trying to clean up, but we are very blessed.”
Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.