Donation will aid those still waiting for hurricane help

Published 7:06 pm Thursday, June 27, 2019

Since Hurricane Irene hit eastern North Carolina in August 2011, North Carolina United Methodist Disaster Response has been on a constant mission to help people in Beaufort County rebuild — disaster after disaster. This week, a generous donation from another local nonprofit, Beaufort County United Way, will help the organization continue that mission.

All told, the Beaufort County United Way has infused the ministry with nearly $55,000 since Hurricane Florence hit Beaufort County last September. The most recent donation of $23,755 will help purchase materials to repair eight homes in Beaufort County — one in Chocowinity, three in Belhaven and four in Washington.

“This money came from the Hurricane Florence Recovery fund,” said Beaufort County United Way Executive Director Sally Love. “We were the fiduciary agent for the county back in October when we started collecting money for that. We met as part of the long-term recovery group, and the disaster relief ministry has been a big part of that. They’re doing most of the repairs in Beaufort County.”

While the ministry has made considerable headway, there is still much work to be done. Currently, approximately 135 homeowners are waiting for their services as a result of Florence, and three are still waiting for help from Hurricane Matthew. Replacing roofs, floors and dry wall, remediating mold and mucking out homes, the group is at the forefront of helping repair damaged homes locally.

“We’re getting calls every single day,” said Disaster Response Ministry Case Manager Valda Belyeu.

From Belhaven to Aurora, the ministry is working to help people in almost every community in Beaufort County. Recently, volunteer crews completed renovations at the Holy Cross Church in Aurora, which will allow volunteers to stay on the south side of the Pamlico River.

At the heart of the ministry’s efforts, volunteer labor is key, and is consequently one of the group’s biggest needs. For skilled, and unskilled volunteers alike, there is always a job to be done. Belyeu said the ministry welcomes church groups, friend groups, college students and youth groups with members older than 14.

“The teams can be church-related, they can be friends, it doesn’t matter,” Belyeu said. “It does not matter how that group comes together that wants to work. We’ll find something for people to do.”

To donate to the Beaufort County United Way Hurricane Florence Recovery Fund, visit To learn more about volunteering with United Methodist Disaster Relief, call 1-888-440-9167.

“There are neighbors that you might not even know who still need help,” Belyeu said.