What can I do to help?

Published 5:45 pm Monday, October 24, 2016

Over the past several weeks, the words have been uttered by many people: “What can I do to help?”

They are the words of a community coming together before, during and after a natural disaster. Hurricane Matthew’s sheer unpredictability brought a few surprises, but proved those who call Beaufort County home are a resilient lot — and a kind lot.

Those moments of kindness could be found everywhere as Matthew came barreling up the coast, pummeled the region, then careened out to sea.

In the days that many residents lived without electricity, one local woman decided to use the lack for good. As many had items in their freezers that needed to be cooked or would go to waste, she asked for donations of food. Those donations came in, a day of cooking ensued, and plates were delivered to the elderly and first responders.

There were business owners helping business owners. One local restaurant was on the verge of losing thousands of dollars of food in freezers until another business stepped in — this one with a massive freezer powered by a generator. Food was loaded onto a trailer and delivered to the stand-in freezer, with the permission of health department inspectors.

Even the Washington Daily News and its readership was on the receiving end of assistance. Within minutes of power going out and no one sure when it would be restored, Washington City Manager Bobby Roberson had extended an invitation to WDN staff to take advantage of the generator-powered City Hall just down Market Street. The Monday after the hurricane, that’s exactly what the Daily News staff did: packed up servers, laptops, chargers and phones, and moved down the block. The Tuesday, Oct. 10 issue of the Washington Daily News was actually put together in the city’s Council Chambers. Fortunately, power was restored late that Monday afternoon, so it was a temporary relocation. By day’s end, staff and equipment were back in their rightful place.

There are likely an untold number of stories of similar acts of kindness in the lead-up to and aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, and the staff of the Daily News would love to hear them.

Such stories define a community and it’s the Daily News’ job to not only deliver the bad news, but the good news, as well.

There’s plenty of good news to be shared in the wake of Matthew.