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Hurricane Florence

Resilience isn't really a word I ever paid much attention to. However, over the past month, it is a word that has made itself present in my life. I was out in Wyoming and Montana from August 30 - September 8, a book I packed to reread was Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy. I read it cover to cover while away. I came back with a sense of calmness and relaxation. I was ready to be present and grateful in my 35th trip around the sun. While out there, a friend told us about a book she was reading, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity. She explained it goes into depth about the power of resilience. 

The week I returned from this trip, Hurricane Florence battered our NC Coastline. One place that got hit the hardest was my hometown of New Bern. The night the hurricane came ashore our family lost a great man, my Mom's love. It was as if I was paralyzed. I didn't know what to do other than love on my mom and start helping the community.

Since September 18th, I've raised $3,600 + thousands of dollars in supplies have been collected + donated for the relief efforts. If I had to guess, around $10,000 in supplies has been delivered to Craven County my self and family members. A funeral van, County Sprinter van, 5 trips with my Yukon, 1 Trip of my cousins SUV filled, a worker's van all filled and driven to New Bern.

I knew I wanted to get these supplies in the hands of the people, to let them know I was hurting alongside them, give them a voice, let them know they are not alone and to provide supplies to make their lives just a tiny bit more bearable. I made bins with supplies and kid baskets.

The resilience I've witnessed in people who have lost everything is like nothing I have ever seen. They are all trusting in the big guy up above, the community, people traveling from all over to help and in humanity. Several people told me while yes they lost everything, they were happy to be alive.

As I drove around delivering supplies and talking to people the first few weekends, I left feeling crushed that I didn't have enough supply bins to give out to every single person I saw. I told particular families, I'd be back the following weekend with specific things they needed. The delight that was expressed when I showed back up brought me to tears. 

September 28-30 I went home to deliver supplies. This was 3 weeks after the storm. Mom and I drove around looking to deliver bins... it was eerie. Neighborhoods that were full of people cleaning and helping were now ghost neighborhoods. Pollocksville, a town just outside New Bern was vacant except 5 people we sae. It was hard to find people to give bins too. Where did all these people go? Would they come back? I still don't know the answers, but I'm still lead to keep gathering supplies.

Recently I have shifted my efforts from cleaning supplies to school and personal hygiene items. 4,300 homes were flooded in New Bern. Half of Craven County Schools have not been re-opened. 75 teachers have lost everything and hundred and hundreds of kids have too, including their home. I want to make going back to school a little easier on all of them. 

Last Weekend I delivered a car load to a warehouse in New Bern supported and run by Craven County Partners in Education. Here teachers can come gather items needed for themselves, their families, their students and their classrooms. This is where I'll be taking all the school supplies when I go back to New Bern on October 19. 

Keep Giving and I'll keep making drop offs!


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Jessica & Chad McCoy. They have a child, but left the child with grandparents while they cleaned out their house. They are hoping they will be able to return to this home after clean up

Nety Ocampo: She's lived here 4 years with her husband and their 2 children. They have a dog name Bronco. They have lost everything. Everything they own is on the street. They evacuated and came home on her birthday September 17th, to a ruined home. "We can replace things and we will"

Nety + Luis 

Pearl. Everything she owns is on the street

Lily, Pearl's mother. She lives across the street and she too lost everything.

Barbra Lovick. "I'm not going to look happy and I'm not even going to put lipstick on. It's sad times. Sometimes sad times call for lipstick, but not today". She's been in this house 11 years and her son who lives off Oaks Road, not far away, lost everything; house, belongings and cars. 

Bishop Curtis Brown of Builders-The Church-Jesus Christ. Bishop Brown was cleaning out his church with two neighborhood boys; Tae & Jasir. He's been preaching since 1960 and has lived in Savannah, Michigan, Germany and various other places. He's a Army Vet and Loves New Bern. His very soft spoken, extremely polite, has a firm handshake and pats you on the back when he hugs you, and he likes to give hugs. He knows the Lord will look out for him, his members and his church, because "that is what the He does." 

Bishop Brown squealed when I told him I had size L gloves for him. He went to 3 places looking for his size. 

Sharon Jenkins. She's been in New Bern 55 years. Her mother lost everything, including her car... just a couple blocks away

VerRonda Johnson. She was so grateful for the Supply Box I gave her and then told me "it's hard but you just have to smile"

My Uncle, Hugh Howard is retired and depends on rental properties as extra income. Almost all of his rental properties were under water

Journee, age 11: "I can't believe you are just doing this to ya know be kind. When I grow up I want to be like you and help people who need help. I bet there are a lot of people who need help." I told her she didn't have to wait to be 'grown up' she could start now. As I drove off she yelled "Emily I am going to be kind!"

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Kevin Bradley, age 45. He's renting the house, he's not sure if he will be able to come back. He moved to New Bern because his wife needed to come back to take care of her mother

Michael, Nelsi, Estvan

Meet Juliet Morgan. This is one of many people we spent time with last weekend in New Bern. Mrs. Morgan has the kindest smile and her eyes light up when she talked about her home. She stayed for Irene and lost her car, so she knew she needed to leave for Florence. She and her close family fled to Maryland. She told us neighbors sent pictures of what was left of her home, but until she saw it, she couldn't comprehend the damage and loss. She loves to sew and has 13 sewing machines, working ones and vintage ones. She collects fabrics and showed us some of her favorites. Until she can find a new home, she staying in Pollocksville (another area hit badly bad the storm) with her daughter. Because of your contributions, we were able to write Mrs. Morgan a check to have her roof lifted so she could salvage as much as possible. Please continue to help this dear, sweet, faithful women. Through the devastation, she still managed to help her neighbors and keep a smile on her face. Donate to her directly here:

Willie Lane- New Bern Native and lost everything. He rents this house, and he's not sure how long it will take his landlord to fix it. "Even if he does fix it, I won't come back. I don't like that river anymore". He explained that everything that he owns, other than what he took with him is on the street. He's married and has a daughter. They are all currently staying with friends and family, and he's thankful for them. "He is in control. This was always apart of my plan, I just didn't know it. We must trust in His plan, and I do. I know I'll be ok. I know I'll be taken care of because I trust in Him no matter how bad life gets... I know He'll provide. See, he sent an angel like you to help. Write down that I believe in God."

Willie Lane "I want to sit on the porch, I don't want to stand with everything I've lost. I used to love this porch. I used to like sitting out here every day"

Sarah Hau- She rents this house and has been living here 5 years. She lives with her daughter because "I don't know anyone affords to live alone these days". They lost everything. Everything but what they took is on the street. She worked for 20 years at Cherry Point Marine Base. She wanted me to know she went to college and got a degree in History + Education


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