Church hands out food, water and hope to flooded-out Lumberton residents

September 20, 2018

The Saddletree Church of God parking lot has become a one-stop shop for Lumberton residents affected by Hurricane Florence.

An assembly line of volunteers efficiently load up cars with food, water, diapers and cleaning supplies for people who lost their belongings, their power or both in the storm.

Organizers couldn’t estimate how many supplies they have, but hundreds of boxes were on hand. The bulk of the supplies were from the International Church of God and Hope Charitable Ministries.

About 500 families were served Wednesday, and organizers said they would keep serving people Thursday until their boxes were empty.

Cars, trucks and SUVs had lined up outside the church by 10 a.m. Thursday to make sure they could get a box.

“It means a lot because we don’t have any food and stuff. We lost everything we had because our power was off for five days,” Curtis Barksdale said. “This is more than the world. If the churches in the community didn’t do this, we’d be a whole lot worse off.”

Lumberton officials estimate that, at the peak of Florence, at least a quarter of the city was underwater. Many homes still are.

The Lumber River is expected to crest for a second time this weekend at about 24 feet. That’s still well into flood stage but not as high as the water was early this week.

“We appreciate it very much, appreciate what they’re doing for us. It’s a blessing from God,” James North said.

“We basically don’t have anything, and it really means a lot,” Esmerelda Diaz said.

One of the volunteers was in a similar situation – her home is flooded – but she still wanted to give back, saying Lumberton needs to stick together.

“We’ve got to help one another and keep one another going,” Wanda Ward said. “I know myself, this can be a very low time for a lot of people. We don’t want depression to set in. If they know there’s someone here helping, I think it’ll help us make it through it”.

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