LUMBERTON —A faith-based group that plans to spend up to two years in Robeson County helping with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew got some help itself on Monday.
The Farm Credit Associations of North Carolina donated $55,000 to NC Baptists Disaster Relief Mission, which has provided volunteers since the devastating Oct. 8 storm and the record flooding that followed.
“Our recovery jobs are dwindling down. We are working through them. We will be going through a phase that we call rebuild where we begin repairing homes,” said Tom Vannoy of NC Baptists Disaster Relief. “The Baptist churches of North Carolina make donations specifically for Hurricane Matthew and Farm Credit has just made a wonderful donation. All of that money will be used in partnership with whatever FEMA award or insurance award these families may have received. If they get nothing, that does not keep us from helping them.”
The association also donated $55,000 to Salvation Army to use for Matthew relief.
The donation is the sum of monetary gifts from each of the three Farm Credit Associations of NC, including $50,000 from Cape Fear Farm Credit, with headquarters in Fayetteville, $25,000 from AgCarolina Farm Credit, with headquarters in Raleigh, and $25,000 from Carolina Farm Credit, with headquarters in Statesville. Additionally, Farm Credit partner, CoBank, will donate $10,000 towards North Carolina flood relief.
“It’s going to make a lot of difference for a lot of families,” Vannoy said.
Vance Dalton, CEO of Carolina Farm Credit in Statesville, said his office felt called to Robeson County.
“Our mission is to support rural North Carolina. We saw people hurting — we saw an opportunity to reach and out serve,” Dalton said. “That’s why our board chose to make this gift, to be able to help folks in this darkest time of their lives. We want to be able to help those folks.”
Farm Credit helps farmers in North Carolina to finance land, homes, farm buildings, operating expenses, livestock and equipment.
Dave Corum, AgCarolina Farm Credit chief executive officer, said his office saw what the NC Baptists Disaster Relief Mission was doing in places like Kinston and Greenville.
“We were just so impressed with how quickly the Baptist organization was there,” Corum said. “They got out there fast and they got out there before anybody else. They’re still here, and we wanted to help out.”
Farm Credit Associations have also provided volunteers to help clean homes in Robeson County.
“We wanted it to be more than a check being written. We wanted it to be boots on the ground and people making a difference in the community,” Corum said.
Delaine Marie Jones McNeer, whose mobile home on Lovette Road was flooded, watched on Tuesday as volunteers bagged up ruined belongings from her home, taking them in a cold rain to a trash bin nearby. She will never be able to return to the home.
“We experienced a great loss of everything — home and all,” said McNeer as she fought back tears. “Thank God for the help he sent through FEMA, from Hyde Park, these men and women of God who come to help us with cleaning the homes out. Most of all we are grateful we are still alive.”
Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.