Hurricane Matthew and Helping the Lumberton Flood Victims – Background
On September 28th, Tropical Storm Matthew formed near the Cape Verde Islands. A day later, the storm was upgraded to Hurricane Matthew and began its path of destruction through the Windward Islands, Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas and the United States. Severe winds and flooding resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 people. Hurricane Matthew finally moved away from the North Carolina coast and headed out to sea on October 9th.
One area hard hit area is Lumberton, NC, where over 1,500 people have been stranded after water from the Lumber River inundated parts of the city. Close to 1,000 people are in shelters, completely displaced from their homes. Many are left with only the clothes on their backs, searching for loved ones in other shelters in the community.
Turning Empathy into Action
I read a story today about a woman who heard a noise and woke up to discover water rushing into her house. She put her baby on her shoulder and left the house with only the clothes on their backs. Take a moment to imagine that. She left the house with nothing except her child in her arms. No clean, dry clothing. No blanket to keep herself and her little one warm. No baby formula, water or food. And no diapers or wipes. They fled for their lives.
As a Mom, I can’t imagine being in that situation where your sole motivation is survival and nothing else matters. On a regular day, I can’t leave the house without a backpack of extra clothes, diapers, wipes, snacks, water, and loveys. Reading that story and similar ones yesterday, I decided to take action. We have very dear friends who have a son who is 2 years older than Brett. When they found out we were having a boy, they gave us 4 tubs (literally, giant, 110-qt. clear plastic tubs) of baby boy clothes in all ages from newborn through 2T. When Ryan came along, he was able to wear those clothes as well.
I have the smaller clothes that no longer fit the boys in storage. What better way to pay it forward than to donate it to families in crisis. I packed all of the clothes by size and season into boxes and my husband dropped them at the Lumberton Flood Victims drive his company is having today. I hope there are Moms on the other end who will gain some comfort having their children in clean dry clothes.
Ways you can help
Hurricane Matthew has affected so many lives. Visit Charity Navigator to view a list of reputable organizations where you may make a donation to support Hurricane Matthew disaster relief. If you are local to the North Carolina area, there are several ways to help:
- The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina is working to provide food, water, and other non-food essentials to victims of Hurricane Matthew. Visit foodbankcecnc.org if you would like to make a donation.
- Gov. McCrory has activated the NC Disaster Relief Fund to aid those impacted by Hurricane Matthew. Visit NCDisasterRelief.org to make a donation. Alternatively, you may send a check made payable to “North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund” and mail it to NC Disaster Relief Fund, The Office of the Governor, 20312 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-0312. Alternatively, you can text NCRECOVERS to 30306.
- Many local organizations are launching Hurricane Matthew disaster relief efforts. Check with your local church, synagogue, or community center to see if they are organizing any relief efforts.
- Several relief organizations are in need of volunteers. Visit redcross.com/volunteer, feedthehunger.org and ncvoad.org for more information.
As I was packing the clothes up, I started thinking about how grateful I am. Grateful to have two healthy active sons and a loving husband. Thankful to have a warm home and food on the table. Blessed to have friends and family who have been there through all of the joy and all of the sorrow.
Having gratitude really puts things in perspective. Last night my son woke up at midnight because he couldn’t find his lovey which meant he couldn’t fall back to sleep. I was annoyed at first, but after I settled him down and laid in my bed, trying to fall back to sleep, I realized I was grateful to be in our home, surrounded by the people I love and things that give me comfort; and grateful for my kids to have the same.
What are you grateful for? Post a comment below and let me know!