Community works to come together after severe storms

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -– Authorities and FEMA administrators say the fatality numbers from the devastating severe storms that tore across the South earlier this week have climbed to 359, making it the second deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history. From demolished homes and buildings to loved ones lost, many folks in our region are working to put the pieces of their lives back together.

Saturday, The Bladen Baptist Association in collaboration with the Dublin Peanut Festival joined forces to raise money to help those who were affected by the severe weather. Horace Wyatt, the Mayor of Dublin, says The Bladen Baptist Association has been doing everything they can to help those in need. He says raising funds to help those efforts was the obvious next step.

“The Bladen Baptist Association, through brother Bruce Cannon, are more than willing to help people who have a need,” Wyatt said. “If they don’t qualify for FEMA or don’t have insurance, they apply to the association and if Bruce sees there is a true need, he calls the community to help. The problem is money.”

Wyatt says the association has been working since the first storm two weeks ago to help folks in the community fix their homes and clear debris left by the storm. He says during this clean up, they realized they needed to do more to help rebuild the community.

“In the process, we found out that there was a lot of people that were in need of material goods to replace what had been blown up or torn apart,” Wyatt said.

The Peanut Festival quickly organized a community lunch to help raise money to purchase those materials. Folks say even if they were not affected directly by the storm, they know the devastation was life changing. Kenneth Carroll says his family is blessed because they did not have much damage from the storm. He says he came to the lunch to help those who were not as fortunate.

“There’s a lot of people hurting who need help,” Carroll said. “One thing about the community is that they will come together and help people in need.”

Carroll says he helped clean up parts of Bladenboro last Sunday. During the clean up, he realized many people had lost everything. That’s when he decided he was going to do all he could to help make things better.

“Some people lost it all,” Carroll said. “Food, supplies, clothing. Everything. They’re going to be hurting for a long time.”

The clean up efforts continue this weekend, especially after severe weather came through the area again on Thursday. Bobbie Todd with The Peanut Festival says the event earned approximately $6,000 for local disaster relief.

If you were not able to make it to the lunch or would like to know how you can help, click here.

Categories: Bladen

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