From left, Tiki Windley of the FFORC team, along with Mary Johnson and Ernest Fisher from Integrity Community Development Center assisting with supply distribution in Kinston, N.C.

Although North Carolina’s weather no longer shows any signs of Hurricanes Florence and Michael, many affected communities are still engaging in long-term recovery efforts. The UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) is donating $750 in gift cards to the Robeson County Disaster Recovery Committee (RCDRC) using a fund that was set up for staff contributions following Hurricane Florence.

In September 2018, Florence set records for rainfall and flooding, and it was followed in October by another major hurricane, Michael, which left hundreds of thousands without power in North Carolina. Following both storms, the Food, Fitness and Opportunity Research Collaborative (FFORC) team from HPDP joined forces with the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association (RENA), which was serving as a local collection site for the Chapel Hill community, to distribute several vanloads of supplies to Eastern North Carolina. The two organizations made five trips to Duplin, Sampson and Lenoir Counties.

Sheila Smith (left), volunteer at Garland Senior Center, and Dr. Molly De Marco (right), Principal Investigator on the FFORC team, delivering supplies in Garland, N.C.

Individual staff from HPDP also took the initiative to offer assistance to communities in coastal counties where HPDP has partnerships. Immediately after the storm, Tiki Windley, a member of the FFORC team, helped to serve meals in Duplin County. Dr. Catherine Rohweder, a Senior Investigator at HPDP, also traveled to Robeson County to deliver a vanload of supplies that included donations from both HPDP and UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.

One of several vans full of supplies that were delivered to communities in Eastern N.C.

Because staff members also wanted to make financial donations to relief efforts, HPDP set up a fund for contributions. The fund collected a total of $790. A small portion of the  donations went to purchase batteries for Enlighten the World Ministries, an HPDP partner in Clinton, N.C. who lost power after Florence and found that local grocery stores no longer had batteries in stock. HPDP is currently donating the remaining money in the form of 15 gift cards, each worth $50, to Robeson County Disaster Recovery Committee (RCDRC). Robeson County, one of the areas where HPDP currently conducts research and works with communities, was particularly hard hit by Florence. RCDRC is a nonprofit organization committed to long-term disaster recovery, which directly serves residents who are facing food insecurity and may need assistance with temporary housing.

For more information about HPDP’s involvement in hurricane relief, please contact:

Brett Sheppard, Project Manager
(919) 423-9264
brett_sheppard@unc.edu

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