Whatever outcome, local groups ready to help

Published 7:43 pm Wednesday, September 4, 2019

While first responders and emergency officials are on the front lines of responding to natural disasters like hurricanes, their efforts in the recovery phase are bolstered by the tireless efforts of nonprofits and community organizations. Here in Beaufort County, as the community braces for Dorian, these local organizations stand at the ready to help.

In Washington, the American Red Cross has already begun the process of helping people, with Red Cross personnel managing Beaufort County’s emergency shelter at Washington High School. The shelter opened at 8 a.m. Thursday morning. According to Red Cross Disaster Program Specialist David Jones, conversations between the Red Cross and Beaufort County Emergency Services have been taking place throughout the week to prepare for the possibility of evacuations.

Last year, in the wake of Hurricane Florence, The Salvation Army of Washington was at the forefront of helping respond to the disaster, specifically by feeding those in need. Setting out to all corners of the county, the Christian nonprofit was true to its mission of serving those in need. According to The Salvation Army of Washington Lt. Karl Bush, the organization is keeping in touch with emergency services, and stands ready to help.

“We’ve identified some areas that may be heavier hit than others, and we’re as prepared as we can be,” Bush said. “We have a contingency plan in place and post-landfall, resources are being made ready to move into the area as needed outside of what we have at The Salvation Army here locally.”

Also helping with food relief, Eagle’s Wings Food Pantry became a clearinghouse for food donations after Florence. The group is preparing for the coming storm by storing frozen items for The Salvation Army and has a refrigerated truck on hold in case the pantry loses power. With a fresh shipment in from the Food Bank of the Albemarle, people who lose food during the storm will have a resource available.

“We’ve been making plans so that we can reach out to people,” said Eagle’s Wings Director Ann-Marie Montague.

Another Christian nonprofit, United Methodist Disaster Response, has been on the front lines of helping repair homes in the area since 2011, when Hurricane Irene hit Beaufort County. Eight years later, the organization has never left, responding as disaster after disaster stack on top of one another. The group is still working on homes from Hurricane Florence and Matthew, with a list of 400 homes in the region that still need attention. Whatever Dorian may bring, the group is ready to respond wherever there is a need.

“We’re ready,” said Donna Brander, site manager for the Washington-based ministry. “We have prepared ourselves, so hopefully we’ll have minimum issues here so we can put all of our focus on clients.”

The organization is always in need of volunteers to help work on houses. To volunteer or report you have a house in need of repair, call 888-440-9167.

Finally, the Beaufort County United Way served as a fiscal agent for relief after Florence. While the details of any such arrangement has yet to be finalized, Beaufort County United Way Director Sally Love says the organization is prepared to seek grants as needed after the storm and help in any other ways necessary.


To learn more about and support the nonprofits mentioned in this article, visit the following websites:

American Red Cross — www.redcross.org/local/north-carolina/eastern-north-carolina

The Salvation Army of Washington, NC — www.salvationarmycarolinas.org/washington

United Methodist Disaster Response — www.nccumc.org/disaster

Beaufort County United Way —www.unitedwaync.org/donate (specific counties can be selected from a drop down menu)

Eagles Wing’s Food Pantry — www.eagles-wings.org