Fire chief organizes food drive for Ocracoke

Published 9:06 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2017

SWAN QUARTER — The power outage crisis in Ocracoke is not over yet.

While the tourism industry is getting back on track, and power is fully restored, employees who were out of work for a week or more are still trying to recover from lost wages. Many residents lost a substantial amount of food in refrigerators and freezers.

Because of the extensive need, Ocracoke Assembly of God Church’s Bread of Life Food Pantry is nearly wiped clean.

That’s where Swan Quarter Volunteer Fire Department comes in.

SQVFD Chief Jeffrey Stotesberry is organizing a food drive for those neighbors in need. He said his main goal is to replenish the pantry’s resources before another disaster, such as a hurricane or flooding, happens. Some of those employees who were out of work may also need more assistance from the pantry, he said.

“The biggest thing, I guess, is we’ve been there. … I know what it’s like to be in need,” Stotesberry said. “When we found out about them, I just said, ‘Well, there’s something we can do to help them.’”

Stotesberry said mainland Hyde County has been lucky to avoid any such disasters this year, so he wanted to focus thoughts on the Outer Banks.

“The problem of it is the food pantry on Ocracoke that was sitting there for an event such as that, they pretty much depleted everything they had in it,” Stotesberry explained. “To have another (crisis) event, they haven’t got anything to start with.”

Organizers are asking for donations of canned goods, dried foods, paper products, personal hygiene items and pet food.

The following locations are collecting donations: Hyde County Government Center in Swan Quarter; Chris’ Grocery in Swan Quarter; the N.C. Ferry Terminal in Swan Quarter; Swan Quarter VFD; Spencer True Value Store in Engelhard; Red and White Grocery in Engelhard; and Ponzer Ruritan Club.

Stotesberry said there are some churches in mainland Hyde County and eastern Beaufort County that have pitched in to help by collecting donations, as well.

Monetary donations are also welcome. They can be mailed to SQVFD, P.O. Box 97, Swan Quarter, N.C. 27885. Mail should be labeled for “Ocracoke Food Drive.”

“To say it’s over, it’s really far from being over,” Stotesberry said. “It’s going to take them a little bit of time to get adjusted.”