By Anna Phillips | September 14, 2020 at 6:33 PM EDT – Updated September 14 at 8:48 PM
ROSE HILL, N.C. (WECT) – To commemorate the 2-year anniversary of Hurricane Florence making landfall, Baptists on Mission dedicated the new Charity Rebuild Center in Rose Hill Monday.
Baptists on Mission is one of many organizations that move in following a major storm or other natural disaster.
“The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross, they all work so wonderfully together I think we really set the standard for the nation about how they work together to help people in North Carolina,” said North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry, praising Baptists on Mission for their work over the last two years.
The group bought and is remodeling the old Charity Middle School in Rose Hill.
They’ve kept the integrity of the cafeteria and have retrofitted the bathrooms to include more than a dozen single-stall showers. Several classrooms are now bunk rooms, lounge areas, tool storage, project rooms and more.
The facility will be used as a sort of camp where volunteers can stage ahead of a storm or camp while working on a home rebuild.
It’s 62,000 square feet on 28 acres and also includes several lots for full recreational vehicle hookups so volunteers who typically travel that way can stay on site.
Baptists on Mission have already repaired hundreds of homes in eastern North Carolina but they expect to continue working for the next two years on other Hurricane Florence recovery projects.
“Think how you’d feel if you’d been out of your home for two years. So, we want to get people back as quick as we can so I’m praying COVID goes away,” said Tammy Weeks.
COVID-19 has reduced their operations, limited volunteer work and in some cases meant they relied on contractors for certain jobs.
Avery and Haydee Smith lived in an older model motor home for twenty months after their home was flooded in Wallace.
Avery Smith says the house had never flooded before, and they were inside when the water began to rise. They believe they’d still be living in the rv had Baptists on Mission not stepped in to repair their home.
Those kinds of requests keep coming.
“I want to remind you today of the two year anniversary that we still have seventy people on our books and we’re getting anywhere from 6, 7 or 8 more homes every single week that people are coming in needing help. It’s not over for them. North Carolina, it’s time for us to get our people back in their homes,” Weeks said.
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