So that's why Rocky Mount residents such as Christy Long dropped off truckloads of donations during an Operation Storm Relief food drive in which Capitol Broadcasting partnered with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern N.C. and Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast N.C. to collect food and supplies at multiple locations in Durham, Cary, Fayetteville and Rocky Mount on Thursday.
"I guess because I've been in those shoes," Long said of why she came out for the food drive. "You always say you don't know until you walk a mile in those shoes, and that's a long mile to walk."
Long survived Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and the devastating flood that followed.
"I completely lost my home," she said. "My parents were lucky. My fiancé's parents were not so lucky. They lost their home. My brother-in-law lost his home.
"It was very devastating to our family," she added.
It's a theme heard over and over in Rocky Mount.
"Our son experienced a lot of tragedy when Floyd was in Rocky Mount, and he lost his home," Becky Capps said. "We were OK, but we had several friends who lost their homes and everything they had so this is very important to us."
Capps' young daughter Bethany donated nearly two months of her allowance to Katrina relief efforts.
"I saw the people on T.V., and I wanted to help them because they were homeless," Bethany said.
Katrina's damage was not just a terrible image, Rocky Mount residents said, it was also a helpful reminder.
"There were so many people that offered their help and services to us, I feel it's just as great what we can give back," Long said.
Volunteers in Rocky Mount loaded up more than a truckload of donated items on Thursday. In all, six tractor-trailer trucks were packed with 99,000 pounds of donated goods, including food as well as paper, baby and hygiene products, during the food drive
The trucks will now head to the Gulf Coast region, and the items will be distributed among Hurricane Katrina victims.