Above: A man clears debris from his home in New Bern, N.C., Sept. 17 following Hurricane Florence. The storm, now a tropical depression, is poised to affect more than 10 million the week of Sept. 17. (CNS photo/Eduardo Munoz, Reuters)
The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. 14. And although the storm was downgraded from a category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm, it still caused extensive water damage.
In North Carolina, at least 16 people died in storm-related incidents. Tens of thousands of homes in Florence’s path were damaged, and about 500,000 homes and businesses were still without power Sept. 17.
In the Diocese of Raleigh, initial reports show that at least ten parish communities sustained damage. Numbers are expected to grow as more is learned, but, as of Tuesday, Sept. 18, damage was reported in Shallotte, Wilmington, New Bern, Morehead City, Jacksonville, Fayetteville, Pinehurst and Goldsboro. In some instances, damage occurred to church buildings. In others, parish centers and recreation areas were damaged. Types of damage include roof leaks, flooding and down trees, among others.
Prior to the storm, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh was preparing to help those in need by partnering with agencies to address the immediate needs of families across central and eastern North Carolina.
The agency will provide food gift cards, groceries, diapers and cleaning supplies to help families recover following Hurricane Florence.
Catholic Charities staff members are present in the community to assist families before, during and long after an event.
Two charity organizations, Food for the Poor and Matthew 25, had teamed up and coordinated efforts with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh to distribute disaster relief supplies to the hardest hit areas.
Food for the Poor received three tractor-trailer loads of goods from Matthew 25: Ministries for the relief effort with water, hygiene items, cleaning supplies, paper towels and toilet paper to be distributed by Catholic Charities.
Daniel Altenau, director of communications and disaster services for Catholic Charities in Raleigh, said a disaster can be one of the most traumatic things a family can experience.
"We are working with local partner agencies to address the immediate needs of families across central and eastern North Carolina," he said.
Altenau said Catholic Charities was grateful for the support from Food for the Poor, noting: "We know that no one can recover from a disaster this big alone, and no single agency can meet all the needs of survivors. But, as a community, we can care for our neighbors in need."
How you can help
No one can recover from a disaster alone. But a community may care for all. With help from the community, Catholic Charities is working to serve families impacted by the storm. There are three ways people may assist recovery efforts:
Financial support Cash is the fastest way to assist survivors and offers the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources.In-Kind donations Diapers, tarps, solar lanterns and towels are the most urgent needs for families. Click here for a complete list.
Volunteer Opportunities In the coming weeks and months, there will be many volunteer opportunities with Catholic Charities across eastern North Carolina. If you have questions or services to offer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.