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Hurricane Florence: How to Help (Part 3)

Hurricane Florence: How to Help (Part 3)

Chamber Members,


Yesterday, I drafted this email to open, “Hurricane Florence has spared us,” and today things are different. This morning the Blue Hill District’s Eastgate flooded, University Place parking lot filled with water, and Franklin Street, Estes Drive and other streets flooded. Many businesses were impacted.  Please revisit my previous Florence posts for websites and social media to follow and report on flooding.


So, given this morning’s flooding, the purpose of my email now is two-fold.

  1. Respond to local flooding, and
  2. Respond to broader hurricane impact and evacuations (and share a message from the University with donation drive information at the end of this message).

Number One – local:


This morning’s flash flooding was intense but the water is receding and very little rain is on our immediate future.  Three things – And we created a quick form to collect the responses.

  1. What do you need? (Did you flood, are you damaged, what do you need help with?)
  2. Do you have anything you can share? (with our hard working first responders, or our locals impacted by flooding, or with evacuees staying in Chapel Hill shelters).  For example, Rasa Indi-Chinese is feeding first responders who stop by and the Lumina Theater is donating movie tickets for evacuees who want a break from the shelter.
  3. Can you please share your cell phone number with me?  This way the Chamber can group communicate with you in the event of emergencies and/or I can communicate directly with you if needed. (I/we will never share it with another organization). – I promise we will be judicious in its use.  And for a fair trade, my cell is 919.260.0981. 

Quick Form – Please response


Number Two – our state:


Our friends and neighbors in eastern North Carolina are suffering terribly. 


Wonder what you can do to help?  Me too.  This email will serve as a start.


Saturday morning, the American Red Cross and the state of North Carolina opened a ‘mega shelter’ at the UNC Friday Center with a capacity of 500 Florence evacuees and the University is preparing the UNC Tennis Center to house an additional 1,000 guests.  Yesterday afternoon, when Governor Cooper visited the Friday Center, our local Red Cross shelter housed 185 guests.  Today the shelter is at capacity. 


Last night, more than 20,000 Florence victims slept in more than 200 Red Cross shelters, including 17,000 in 139 shelters in North Carolina.  So far, the Red Cross has partnered to serve 130,000 meals and have mobilized 2,330 Red Cross disaster workers from across the country.  The Red Cross has brought in enough ready to eat meals and cots for 100,000 and is partnering with the Southern Baptists to deploy field kitchens that can produce 170,000 meals a day.


In my judgement, one of the best things you can do right now is to financially support the American Red Cross’ North Carolina emergency response. 


Money: The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide this disaster relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Florence by visiting, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation.  Tomorrow will be a live telethon on ABC11 – Sonja and I will be taking calls there 5-7:00pm


Blood: More than 150 blood drives have been canceled through early next week due to Hurricane Florence, resulting in more than 4,400 uncollected blood and platelet donations.  Make an appointment today using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).


Volunteer: The Red Cross is in need of local volunteers who can sign up for a 6-12 hour shift and help maintain/set up sheltering facilities, register clients, maintain client information, and serve meals, among other tasks. Licensed nurses and mental health professionals are encouraged to volunteer with Red Cross in the local community. Don’t just show up, please Sign up at


Donate Items: Please only donate the items requested (list and instructions below in University message) and do not bring any donations to the Friday Center.  Used items are best donated to local thrift shops for local purposes.  If you bake or cook when you are stressed, considering sharing those items with local first responses or hard working utility line(wo)men.  Shelters are not able to receive homemade goods.


Below is an email message from the University, who deserves our praise and support for stepping forward as a first-mover in this disaster.  Thank you, Carolina, for taking direct and immediate action to support evacuees and for help coordinating community response.  



Message from Carolina

North Carolinians, including students, faculty and staff at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the surrounding community, are asking how they can support the recovery from Hurricane Florence. In particular, they are seeking guidance on donations for the shelter in Chapel Hill and affected locations.

Shelter Information
The shelter at the Friday Center is being operated for the State of North Carolina by the Red Cross in partnership with the University. They are fully staffed and currently do not need additional donations of goods. Monetary donations can be made online, where individuals can also apply to be a Red Cross volunteer.

Supporting the State’s Efforts
Anyone interested in volunteering with the state can sign up through the State’s volunteer website. Volunteers can indicate here if they are interested in volunteering time, supplies, donations or resources to assist communities impacted by Hurricane Florence. Donations to support efforts may also be made directly to local efforts or to the governor’s Disaster Relief Fund.

UNC-Chapel Hill Donation Drive
The University is beginning a drive to collect requested items for affected areas throughout the state of North Carolina. Thanks to UNC Athletics and Marrins’ Moving, several tractor trailers will be provided to deliver supplies. Beginning Tuesday (Sept. 18) the University will be accepting donations of specific items at the Williamson Center parking lot, located directly across the street from the Dean E. Smith Center. These items will be loaded onto the Carolina Football equipment truck and delivered to the hardest-hit locations throughout the state.

The items people should donate include: 

[*Note - The donation list is changing day-by-day; visit the Carolina Center for Public Service for the real-time list of needs.] 

  • Non-perishable food items
  • Pop-top canned goods
  • Diapers (baby and adult)
  • Baby formula/food
  • Baby wipes
  • Clorox wipes
  • Flashlights/batteries
  • Paper towels/products
  • Water
  • Cleaning supplies (brooms, cotton mops, pails/buckets, sponges, scrub brushes, garbage bags, rubber gloves)
  • Personal hygiene items (toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, gel soap, bar soap, shampoo, deodorant, band aids)
People may bring items to the Williamson Center parking lot at these dates and times:
  • Tuesday, September 18:  7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 19:  7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 20:  7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday, September 21:  7:30 a.m. to Noon
UNC’s Ongoing Efforts and Information
Although these efforts will help provide some immediate assistance, the aftermath of this storm will necessitate extensive, long term relief and support for the many affected areas. Opportunities to help will continue to develop. Visit the Carolina Center for Public Service web page for all the most recent updates on University Efforts to support Hurricane Florence relief efforts.

To support UNC-Chapel Hill’s relief efforts donations may be made to:
Members of the University community who wish to offer specific expertise and knowledge to the relief efforts are encouraged to contact the Carolina Center for Public Service at



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