Families still affected by flooding following Hurricane Matthew
LUMBERTON, NC — About 75 students at Lumberton High School have learned an important lesson without opening a book — that there are folks who have never met them, who don’t know their families, but want to help them navigate some troubled waters. (News Article by Terri Ferguson Smith)
Those students, who remain homeless after flooding from Hurricane Matthew, are being anonymously adopted by donors who have signed onto the Adopt a Pirate — One Backpack at a Time program.
Sanctuary on the Trail is one of those places. Several people have stepped up to help us by donating winter gear and money.
Today Rene' spoke with Adrian Hammonds, one of five Lumberton High School school guidance counselors who have been working to provide students what they need following Hurricane Matthew.
He is trying to raise $3,750 to give the 75 students $50 gift cards each for Christmas. We offered to match that with $3,000, giving the children and additional $40 gift card each.
Would you consider helping us?
Adrian describes the children as humble and good natured. The thing they need most is a place to stay. They are moving from house to house and hotel to hotel. Some have to drive as far as 40 minutes to get to school each day.
In the local newspaper Adrian sais, “They are so amazed. They say, ‘Mr. Hammonds, who are these people?’ We just tell them that they are people who care for you, who love you. Here’s a new pair of shoes, here’s a new jacket. It’s really worth it to see how the students are reacting to it.”
According to the newspaper article, Hammonds said when students returned to classes three weeks after the flooding, counselors tried to assess which ones were still living in hotels, shelters or with relatives.
“We made an announcement to the children that we want to show you that we love you, we know that you are under stress and we want to help you,” Hammonds said.
They identified about 75 who were displaced and met the initial needs of school supplies, personal hygiene items, food and water. Then churches, businesses and other organizations began adopting Pirates one at a time.
Would you consider helping?
This is Rene's Robeston County/Lumberton hometown neighborhood, devesitated by flooding following Hurricane Matthew. Rene' is President of Sanctuary on the Trail and will ensure your gift(s) reach these children.
-- Thank you and Merry Christmas!
With the program attending to some of the children’s personal expenses, such as shoes, socks, school supplies and clothing, parents can save money for getting into an apartment or house, Hammonds said. After initial purchases were made, cash donations went to purchase gift cards for students.
School counselors are collecting backpacks stuffed with donated items and clothes nearly every day. Donors are not given the child’s name. Each child is assigned a number and donors are given that number, clothing sizes and other information about what the child needs, Hammonds said.
“These teenagers are very protective of their identity, their image,” Hammonds said.
Hammonds shared notes from students expressing appreciation.
One read: “Thank you so much. This means so much to me and my family. May God bless you so much. I can’t stop thanking you. I know you haven’t seen me before but I hope this makes your day.”
And another: “Hi. I wanted to say thank you for all your selfless giving and support. My family and I have been through a lot due to the storm and we’re trying to get our lives back together. I really appreciate all you have done, nothing has gone to waste or in vain … . What may have seemed like a little giving has been a big blessing to our lives.”
Hammonds said he hopes adopters can help the students beyond the Christmas season as their needs are not short term.
“If an adopted child comes to me and tells me that their family is now going to be in a house, I want to be able to tell my adopting family that now they need towels, wash clothes, a bed and other things like that,” Hammonds said.
Numerous churches have adopted Pirates, as well as some Lumberton graduates — one from the class of 1978 and another from the class of 1982.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the program can email Hammonds at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the school at 910-737-5115, 910-737-5112, or 910-737-5110.
Robesonian Newspaper Terri Ferguson Smith can be reached at 910-416-5165.
Sanctuary on the Trail will continue to take in donations to help these children through the Spring.
Contact is Rene' Locklear White, 540-554-8730, email@example.com.