CHARLOTTE — A casual conversation between two cousins has yielded a tractor-trailer load of 40,000 pounds of North Carolina-raised sweet potatoes headed to Hurricane Harvey victims in Port Arthur, Texas.
Deacon William Stanley of Charlotte’s Friendship Missionary Baptist Church was recently visiting his cousins back home in Faison, a small town in farm-rich Sampson County, part of eastern North Carolina, and also home of the 8,000 acres of Burch Farms. Stanley was telling cousin Jimmy Boone how his church had sent two groups of men on mission projects to Port Arthur to help homeowners whose lives were virtually in shambles from effects of flooding and other damages left in the wake of the late-summer disaster.
As many of the thousands of people in the area were also left in financial straits because their jobs were lost or otherwise furloughed indefinitely, the church also sent thousands of dollars to help defray such costs as utilities, mortgages, supplies and food. The Friendship groups had partnered with the Mount Sinai Baptist Church in Port Arthur to coordinate disaster recovery and relief efforts from Charlotte. Those missions focused on helping restore homes to occupancy or help get them ready for construction teams to come in and work.
Boone said he was moved by the story of those efforts and immediately sought to provide other means of support. That new support would come in securing a donation from his life-long friendship and close personal connections with owners of Burch Farms.
On the strength of his friend Jimmy Boone’s recommendation, Burch Farms’ principal owner, Jimmy Burch, sanctioned the shipment of 40,000 pounds of sweet potatoes to Port Arthur. Friendship’s associate pastor, the Rev. J.R. Covington, is a long distance truck driver who volunteered to drive to Faison to get them and then drive the gifts on to Port Arthur.
In addition to the sweet potatoes, Friendship is also sending other supplies and a collection of items that are appropriate as gifts for Christmas: clothing, toys for children and other items including fresh fruit.
Friendship’s Senior Pastor, the Rev. Clifford Jones, Sr., said this is not the end of the church’s efforts. He was quick to note that the thousands of families hit and affected by Harvey, will still have many needs long-term and way after Hurricane Harvey has played out.
For more details, contact Andrea Betaudier at 704-392-0392 or email@example.com
Ken Koontz, owner of Ken Koontz & Assciates public relations, is a freelance writer based in Charlote. Reach him at ken