Churches Continue Relief Efforts Down East
Posted October 20, 1999
TARBORO — Flooded neighborhoods have been dry for weeks, but flood victims in eastern North Carolina still need help. Many volunteers have pledged to be there for the long haul.
Jimmy Williams and Shantra Bean come from two different places. Williams is recovering from the flood; Bean is a college student on fall break. Together, they are helping Williams get back on his feet.
"I lost like half my stuff, but with that FEMA service, and coming out here shopping around, it makes a big difference. They're helping people by giving away stuff. It's just really great. They came right on time," says Williams.
"I go by the philosophy 'What would Jesus do,' and I just don't think Jesus would bypass this opportunity. He never bypassed anyone who was in need, and everyone needs to be helped in one way or another," says Bean.
As the recovery enters its second month, and government agencies start to wind down, flood victims are looking to church organizations for help.
An old grocery store in Tarboro is operated by the Baptist State Convention and staffed by volunteers.
Nine thousand families have come through here, and the building will stay open until it is no longer needed.
In Rocky Mount, the Ebenezer Baptist Church is stocking up on supplies, preparing for long-term aid.
Members are working with the Red Cross and FEMA to make sure no one slips through the cracks. So far, they have given to more than 10,000 families, and have no plans to stop -- even if the recovery takes years to complete.
"We have to disband our regular operations and really get down to the business of serving the hurting people," says Rev. Thomas L. Walker.
The Ebenezer Baptist Church is holding a town meeting for flood victims, Sunday, Oct. 24, at 5 p.m. The church is located at 625 Raleigh Road on the Nash County side of Rocky Mount.