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Wilmington Northside Residents Organize Help For Elderly, Disabled

Point of Distribution for MREs, water, and tarps, at Cape Fear Community College

Points of Distribution around New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender Counties are providing food, water, and tarps to people in need.  Armies of volunteers, law enforcement agencies, and military groups are working together to keep the lines moving.  But one neighborhood in Wilmington has launched its own rescue effort.

In New Hanover County, there are three points of distribution – or PODs -- where victims of Hurricane Florence can get food, water, and tarps.  Lots of organizations are doing what they can to keep the supply lines flowing.

"We are fully stocked at this point.  We have plenty of tarps, plenty of water, plenty of Meals Ready To Eat."

That’s 2nd Lieutenant Nancy Flanagan of the Virginia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

"Of course, we have a lot of help here.  It’s not just the Civil Air Patrol.  We do have Border Patrol here.  We have New Hanover County Police.  City of Wilmington Police.  Wilmington EMS.  We have the Forestry Service.  We have the North Carolina National Guard here.  And I hate to leave folks out, but I’m sure there’s more."

Just three blocks north of this POD, Rachel Fox and her husband are managing a group of volunteers out of their restaurant, Foxes Boxes.  It’s mostly people from the neighborhood -- pulling wagonloads and carrying bags full of food and water to other folks who can’t leave their homes because they’re elderly or disabled or they rely on public transportation – which isn’t currently running.

"I feel like it was either Saturday or Sunday was when I first started seeing – I saw some single-parent families coming by looking for some place open.  And I said, ‘I’ve got some stuff. What do you need?’  And they were out of food."

Today, Rachel is talking with Rosa Ivory, who lives in the neighborhood and found help here.  Rosa is now herself carrying bags of food on foot to her neighbors. 

Rachel and Rosa paint a vivid picture of the need on the Northside. 

RACHEL:  We’ve had single-parent families, no cars.  They’re hourly employees. They have to take the bus to get to work.

ROSA:  Yes.  That’s what I do.  I catches the bus to go to work with. 

RACHEL:  And you can’t work this week. 

ROSA:  I haven’t been to work since Monday and I work at the mall and the mall is still down and they’re not going to open until next Monday. 

Susan Kranyik is also part of the volunteer effort.  I meet her at the nearby POD Center.  She’s in her car waiting in line to pick up as many pallets of water and MREs as they’ll give her.  She tells me each person’s situation is different – but she finds them all  gut-wrenching.

"We have to walk [around] the neighborhood with these big wagons of stuff and we’re literally finding just one person at a time.  There was a lady, a cancer patient, who was by herself in her house with no air-conditioning and no food."

Restaurant Owner Rachel Fox says when her grown kids, who are out of town, learned about the need, they organized an Amazon wish list and started a t-shirt fundraiser.

"Like, so then I start to cry… [voice breaks] Once we start – it’s like – girls, come on, let’s not break down yet."  

Because of that Amazon wish list, Rachel says people from all over are shipping necessities to the restaurant – to help the neighborhood. 

Rosa Ivory says she’s proud of the community.

"Because we’re all trying to help each other and not go against each other.  And I just hope that people understand that this is a crucial time of life.  And we all need to help each other – no matter what color you are."

New Hanover County Commissioner Rob Zapple, also a member of WHQR's Board of Directors, says the county stands ready to help, and anyone in a dire situation should call 911.  There is also no I.D. requirement to get into a shelter.  

Sites to find food and water in Brunswick County:

·       Spring Lake Park (210 Pine Road in Boiling Spring Lakes)

·       Northwest District Park (1937 Andrew Jackson HWY NE in Leland)

·       South Brunswick Middle School (100 Cougar Drive, Boiling Spring Lakes)

·       Town Creek Park (6420 Ocean Highway East in Winnabow)

PODs with food, water, and tarps in New Hanover County:

  1. North POD – Formerly The Rock Church now being used as College Park Elementary School at 5301 Sidbury Road, Castle Hayne NC 28429
  2. Central POD – CFCC – Downtown Main Campus – 700 N. Front Street, Wilmington, NC 28401.  Between Brunswick and Hanover Street. THIS LOCATION WILL ALSO HAVE A WALK-UP OPTION.
  3. South POD – Veteran’s Park – 840 Halyburton Memorial Parkway, Wilmington, NC 28412

Food and water in Pender County:

  • Lighthouse Church, 98 S. Trade Way, Rocky Point
  • Atkinson, 700 E. Church St., Atkinson
  • Maple Hill, 115 Old Maple Rd., Maple Hill
  • Hampstead Kiwanis Park, 586 Sloop Point Loop Rd., Hampstead
  • Shiloh-Columbia Fire Department, 19170 US-421, Willard
Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.