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Raleigh's Helping Hand Mission Plays Santa in Rocky Mount

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ROCKY MOUNT — The water that covered much of the state is long gone, but flood victims still need help. Wednesday, some people hit hard by Hurricane Floyd got a special delivery from some volunteer Santas.

Marquis Whitehead is just seven days old, but he is already facing an uphill battle. His sister, mom and dad live in a FEMA trailer park, victims of the flood in Princeville. But hope for a better Christmas arrived Wednesday morning as two truckloads of gifts rolled in from the Helping Hand Mission of Raleigh.

"It will be my daughter's second Christmas and my little boy's first Christmas," flood victim Latricia Highsmith says. "I want to try to get them a little something so they can play with it around the house."

People in the Triangle have donated gifts, many of which are new and wrapped. There is such a need here that the mission had to borrow from its supplies in Wake County to help everyone.

"When we came down here in the early part of the day, we saw such a large crowd that we had to call in for another truck to bring extra items, because we didn't want to get a few and not have enough for everybody," says Sylvia Wiggins.

The Edgecombe County Department of Social Services is also helping out with free car seats.

"They've lost everything, and we want to make sure that they at least get something new," says Tonia Gay, Edgecombe Social Services. "We know everything won't be new, but something new, so they can have something to hold onto, the future, something to look forward to."

Victims are grateful for whatever they have. "We could have been in the water, but I thank God he kept us," says flood victim Gloria Knight. "People have been really good to me and my kids."

If you would like to help, the Helping Hand Mission is still accepting donations. You can drop them off at the mission's office at 623 Rock Quarry Road in Raleigh. The mission will deliver things to Rocky Mount twice before Christmas, on December 15 and December 22.