LAURINBURG — A local woman who already went above and beyond to provide residents with water after the storm, filled a van to the brim to give toiletries and food in the urban areas Friday.
The past week, Michelle Ellerbe borrowed a van from her aunt so she could make a difference in Laurinburg. She posted flyers on Facebook and printed a banner for the van: Hurricane Florence Benefit Drive for Scotland County.
“I could not rest, I had to do something, this is my hometown,” said Ellerbe. Along the way, volunteers of the community saw what she was doing and joined in.
“These are like my children, in homes where they don’t know where to go next,” said another volunteer, a substitute teacher for Scotland County Schools. “We are not working now so I thought I should help.”
Ellerbe collected donations of toiletries and food at the National Guard Armory. People also gave through Walmart.com and the cash app. Once sorted and bagged by community volunteers, the goods were given to the public. Ellerbe set out a table at the Armory, then she hit the streets.
“No matter how great or small, we had wonderful people who gave their time and energies, and resources,” said Ellerbe.
Macintosh Apartments was a main priority. Many of the families live in apartments that were flooded and have need for assistance. Until that assistance comes, community leaders like Ellerbe and Laurinburg Mayor Matthew Block knocked on doors and handed bags of cleaning materials and more toiletries to Macintosh residents.
Ellerbe said she announced the drive to officials at a recent town meeting. She was thankful to Mayor Block for just showing up.
“Mayor Block was the only one to come help, the others heard it too,” said Ellerbe.
Ellerbe and the community team gave until there was nothing left. Even though she accomplished her goal, seeing the devastation and hurt of the locals have affected her deeply.
“My heart and prayers go out to the people of Laurinburg,” she said.
She is not finished giving yet. People donated clothes to her and she plans for those to be given to locals as well in the near future.
Jael Pembrick can be reached at 910-506-3169 or [email protected]