Disaster relief hotline providing aid across the county

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2018

With recovery efforts in Beaufort County from Hurricane Florence fully underway, Second Baptist Church is serving as a nerve center for disaster relief moving forward, complete with a Beaufort County Disaster Relief hotline — 252-495-6040.

Located at 2516 W. Fifth St. in Washington, the relief effort is being manned by several volunteer groups, with the largest contingent representing Virginia Baptist Disaster Response, with approximately 70 volunteers on site, according to Jim George, the site manager for Virginia Baptist Disaster Response. George said volunteers from local Baptist churches such as Washington’s First Baptist Church and the Memorial Baptist Church from Greenville, have come in each day to help as well.

George said the primary reason for the hotline is to connect those in need with those that can help, as well as alert George and his group to who needs help, allowing them to aid whoever they can.

“That’s the reason we’re helping set this up and do this to help Beaufort County, so this is a central place that people call, and we have a list of resources, and other volunteer groups, nonprofit groups and government groups,” George said. “So we know if somebody says ‘I need help with getting a loan,’ (they need to contact) FEMA. We say ‘here’s the number you call.’ The way we’re handling it is we’re handing off what we can, and then we’re taking care of hopefully the recovery part, the physical work at homes, and things like that. Or we’ll say ‘hey, we can help you with that.’”

The hotline has received hundreds of calls since opening on Monday afternoon, according to George. Along with being a number to call for those that need help, the hotline can be used by those wanting to volunteer, give donations or ask if it’s safe to return after evacuating.

Along with running the relief hotline, the volunteers based at the church are also supplying food. Partnering with The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army, trucks are loaded up at the church and brought to those in need across the area. Food is also being supplied on-site via a drive-thru, with lunch available from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and dinner available from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

“Each day we’re serving approximately about 800 meals per day, lunch and dinner, total in the drive-thru. And we’re sending out about six to seven thousand meals away from here,” George said. “In that time we’re also distributing, as long as we have them, flood buckets, hygiene kits, things like that, or water.”