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N.C. tally from Hurricane Floyd: 25 churches, several Baptist facilities

KINSTON, N.C. (BP)–At least 25 churches and several agencies of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina have been damaged by floods in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd, BSC officials have reported.
BSC officials said they have contacted more than 400 churches in the 13 associations affected by the flooding and are awaiting reports on the total number of churches needing aid.
Cleanup efforts are being coordinated for the next several weekends, said Richard Brunson, director of N.C. Baptist Men. More than 500 North Carolina Baptist volunteers were expected to join disaster relief efforts in eastern North Carolina the weekend of Oct. 1, gathering in 15 staging areas.
Brunson said the efforts mark the beginning of a long process of aid to the areas affected. As church needs are known, specific teams will be targeted to assist in rebuilding those requesting aid.
People wanting information about how to volunteer should contact Mark Abernathy at 1-800-395-5102, ext. 335.
BSC Executive Director-Treasurer Jim Royston said that as much as $45,000 was received by the BSC for disaster relief in one day, and officials expect the total to be in the hundreds of thousands, most to be used to purchase materials for reconstruction of homes and churches.
Brunson said a statewide Sept. 27 collection of canned goods and cleaning supplies was so successful that two warehouses were filled and no more items are needed. Financial contributions only are needed at the present.
In other reports, several buildings at Kennedy Home, one of several campuses operated by the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH), sustained significant damage when the normally quiet Falling Creek near Kinston overflowed its banks as flooding brought by Hurricane Floyd swept through eastern North Carolina on Sept. 16.
The Kinston area received between 15 and 20 inches of rain from the hurricane, said Robert R. Stump, BCH programs and services director. Kennedy Home officials kept an eye on the creek throughout the day Sept. 16, moving some children out of cottages close to the rising water, Stump recounted.
At about 3:30 a.m. Sept. 17, emergency officials told Kennedy home workers they needed to evacuate the campus within 30 minutes or risk being cut off from outside help by the flood. About 65 children and 18 staff members were evacuated by 4 a.m., Stump said. Boys were taken to Mills Home in Thomasville, while the girls went to Odom Home in Pembroke.
BCH workers have kept the children’s families informed about the situation, Stump said. Most of the evacuated residents are teenagers, he said. “I think, given all the circumstances, they’ve done remarkably well dealing with it,” he said.
Kennedy Home was without power for six days. Stump said BCH officials hoped to move the children back to Kennedy Home by Oct. 3.
About four feet of water was in one cottage and about five inches in another, Stump said. About three feet of water came in the gymnasium. Appliances and furniture were ruined in the cottage, while carpet and flooring will likely have to be replaced in the other cottage and gym. An outdoor food locker was flooded by five feet of water, and about $10,000 worth of food stored there was ruined.
The floors in three staff houses were also damaged. About 15 trees were down on the campus. Some roofs received minor damage. A trailer on the property owned by one of the Kennedy Home staff members was destroyed, Stump said.
An additional eight inches of rain on Sept. 28 compounded the problem and postponed needed repairs and the return of Kennedy Home’s residents.
Stump said he did not have a total estimate of damage. “This is something Baptist Children’s Homes had never had to face before,” he said.
Stump said volunteers from churches in Kinston, Thomasville and Tennessee have helped clean the campus.
BCH does not have flood insurance, Stump said. BCH officials are trying to determine if federal money might be available to help with repairs, he said.
Michael Blackwell, BCH president, said the flooding adds a special urgency to the upcoming Thanksgiving Offering for Baptist Children’s Homes. He told the state convention’s general board Sept. 28 he had never sent out a distress alert, but this year’s mailing to the churches will include a cover sheet to emphasize how the flooding has intensified the need for a generous offering for the children’s homes.
Hamilton Baptist Home, a Baptist Retirement Homes of North Carolina facility in Hamilton, received some minor flood damage and was without power for about a day and a half, said Paulette Richmond, the home’s director.
A generator and a gas stove helped the home deal with the situation, Richmond said. “We cooked hot meals throughout the whole thing,” she said.
When flood waters rose nearby, emergency officials called to make sure the home had a plan to evacuate the home’s 26 residents. “We were very fortunate we didn’t have to do that,” Richmond said. “We feel very blessed.”
Some people in the surrounding area were devastated by the flood. One of the home’s employees lost everything, Richmond said.
Chowan College canceled classes for a week because students had trouble finding ways to make it to the campus in Murfreesboro. Several trees fell and the school was without power for a few days, said Randy Brantley, Chowan’s director of foundations and corporate relations.
“We’re in good shape compared to the communities around us,” he said.
Contributions to the state convention’s Hurricane Floyd Disaster Relief fund, via checks payable to the Baptist State Convention and designated for Hurricane Floyd Disaster Relief can be mailed to the BSC, P.O. Box 1107, Cary, N.C. 27512.

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  • Steve DeVane