Garland resident Jonathan Weeks is only 36 years old, and for the second time in as many years, he is seeking help from United Way after flood waters filled his home following Hurricane Florence.
“We had hardly unpacked from Hurricane Matthew,” Weeks said.
Following Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Weeks’ home was left with 12 inches of water standing and completely destroying everything inside. Just like Matthew, Hurricane Florence dropped dozens of inches of rain in southeastern North Carolina, and residents who live along the Black River and other flood prone areas have once again been forced to leave their homes behind.
Weeks said there was three feet of water in his home following the recent storm.
Almost one month after the hurricane, the river levels have returned to normal, but the lives of those affected by the storm’s waters are anything but that. On Wednesday, the United Way of Sampson County distributed items to the residents in the Ivanhoe community, after having distributed similar items in Garland and Harrells the week before.
“You helped us out in Hurricane Matthew, and we are back again,” Weeks told United Way executive director Nancy Carr. “I didn’t know much about United Way, but you have been so helpful in times like these.”
This is the third time Weeks’ home has been flooded and damaged from hurricane rains. The Garland resident says he doesn’t plan to return.
According to Carr, board members from United Way visited Garland, Harrells and Ivanhoe last week to distribute disaster relief supplies. More than 120 people were served during the distribution. After talking with officials from the Garland and Harrells areas at the end of the week, the immediate needs of those residents had been met, and those areas are now considered to be in recovery mode.
“This is a normal progression in a disaster to move from immediate needs to recovery, which involves roof repair, sheetrock repair, tree removal, etc.,” Carr explained. “Ivanhoe, since it was cut off due to the flooding and road damage, we are told, is still in need of disaster relief supplies, so we are targeting our efforts there.”
Several years ago, according to Carr, the organization’s board recognized the need for help during a disaster such as a hurricane or tornado. Through a generous donation, Untied Way purchased the community assistance trailer, enabling visits to the areas impacted by storms, either through setting up a distribution site or visiting door to door.
“We are very grateful to area businesses, churches, individuals and many others who have donated supplies to our disaster relief program,” Carr said. “We also are proud of our community as so many businesses and churches have stepped up and organized donation drives, provided meals and compassion to those affected by the storm.”
United Way is currently accepting monetary donations to help with long term recovery through the organization’s website www.unitedsampson.org or Facebook page.
United Way’s Disaster Relief Program is separate from the annual campaign fund. Carr said the campaign is very important, and allows the organization to provide funding to many agencies offering needed programs and services to the community.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.