LAURINBURG — Two local churches became sites for Hurricane Florence victims to find food and receive supplies Tuesday afternoon. Despite having no electricity, church members gathered to help those in need.
“These are some of the nicest people you will ever meet,” said the Rev. Garland Pierce, who is also a state representative and pastor at Bright Hopewell Baptist Church. “We are just doing what we can.”
Pierce, with the help of local church volunteers, community activists, and gthe NAACP, knocked on doors and used Facebook to let residents know of the event.
Bright Hopewell Baptist Church and Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church served hot food throughout the day and provided supplies for people to freely take. Along with hot dogs and hamburgers, southern comforts like chicken and pastry and collards were cooked as well. Volunteers served and transported food and supplies to both sites.
With power outagesin areas of Laurinburg, Laurel Hill and Wagram, families from all over the county came and received a hearty meal and numerous hugs.
Kiara Diggs lives in one of the many apartment complexes that were flooded during hurricane Florence, and she shared that she and her children dealt with rising waters before help arrived.
“When I first saw water, I called 911. They told me help was coming,” said Diggs.
She said she watched the water rise to her ankles, she had to push their door against the water current for help to come.
“As soon as we opened the back door, more water came flushing in. I had to grab my children,” said Diggs.
Diggs and her children were evacuated by a fire department rescue team, then taken to shelter. But when she returned to clean up, she saw that she had lost everything.
“Clothes, food, everything … the water had even unplugged my refrigerator, I could not believe it,” said Diggs. “Anything would help me.”
The cookout helped feed many families like Diggs and the cleaning supplies given is a start for many to disinfect their homes.
“I know we have fed around 300 here (at BHBC) and about 200 there (at BMBC) so far,” said Darrel “BJ” Gibson, community activist. “We know help is coming, (but) while we wait on help we want to help ourselves.”
Gibson states that, while he appreciates the churches, the community needs a community building for events like this.
That feeling was shared.
“We need a place to store and give away clothes — but we don’t have it so we just feed them,” said Tracey Williams, volunteer and community activist, “We just want to come out and keep the morale of the community high.”
Pierce, along with Gibson, agreed to meet with a team to plan ongoing efforts to help the community.
Jael Pembrick can be reached at 910-506-3169 or [email protected]