Imagine if you can that, for the last eight months, you have not known where you would lay your head at night, moving from the homes of friends to relatives to local hotels converted into makeshift housing. Maybe you are still waiting to hear whether the town you’ve called home will even continue to exist. Can your family farm be saved? Will the business you’ve built over a lifetime ever be revived?
These are not idle questions, but the reality facing thousands of our neighbors in eastern North Carolina who are still grappling with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, eight months and counting after the Oct. 8 storm hit and subsequent flooding changed their lives.
One of our grants partners, Michaels Angel’s Club in Tarboro, collected written first-hand accounts from some of its Edgecombe County clients, many of whom lost everything they had. Remarkably, some of these victims found the time and spirit to volunteer to help other Matthew victims through Michael’s Angel’s.
Below are just a few passages from their written narratives. We have elected not to use their names.
- Princeville resident: “My house was lost and everything in it was also. That was devastation to me and my husband who worked hard all of our life to make a home for ourselves and our four children.”
- Family from Pinetops: “We had to be boat rescued that night [Oct. 8] . . . and have lost everything in our home. We stayed in a shelter for three and a half weeks and now are staying with family, but it’s a single wide with like ten people…We are still trying to keep it together but some days it is real hard.” Note: an eleventh person soon joined the household after the author’s daughter gave birth to a son.
- From a 14-year-old, who considers herself lucky to have moved in with her grandmother: “Even though I lost a lot, I know there are people out there who still have nowhere to stay, so I am thankful. I pray that everyone keeps their head up and a positive attitude and we will get through this.”