Before Hurricane Florence hit in September, 85 guests were evacuated from Good Shepherd Center in Wilmington to the emergency storm shelter at Trask Middle School. During the next seven days, Good Shepherd remained closed and those same guests were moved up to three times to other county shelters, and even to Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, according to a news release.
On Sept. 18, four days after the storm made landfall, Good Shepherd reopened under generator power with limited staff and resources, and moved more than 70 homeless residents back in, the release stated. Staff members who had evacuated out of the area returned with water and food staples and the organization's soup kitchen reopened to serve the wider community.
Since Florence, Good Shepherd has seen an increase in demand for shelter, serving more than 80 newly displaced adults and children, according to the release.
“As we have for the last 35 years, Good Shepherd stands ready to help our neighbors in crisis,” said Katrina Knight, Good Shepherd’s executive director, in the release.
Good Shepherd has worked with FEMA, the Red Cross, the United Way and other national and local agencies to ensure that the hungry and homeless receive the critical services they need during this difficult time, according to the release.
“With so many apartment units damaged from the storm,” Knight added, “we expect longer stays in the shelter, which will continue to require increased resources over time.”
Good Shepherd Center, the largest provider of homeless services in the tri-county region, has been looked upon by local Emergency Management and other entities to be one of the lead agencies during the storm and its aftermath, the release stated.
“Recovery from the storm will not be over in weeks or even months,” Knight said in the release. “We are looking at a very extended period of time before we can return to normal.”
As a result, Good Shepherd is in special need of community support, the release stated.
At 5 p.m. Saturday, the 5th Annual Flavor of NC event will take place at Carolina Yacht Club to raise funds for Good Shepherd services.
"With a distinct 'fall in North Carolina' feel, the evening will include an Eastern NC style barbecue feast, silent auction, music and fun," the release stated.
Advance tickets are $75 and can be purchased by phone at 763-4424, ext. 113, or online
. Day-of tickets will be available at the door for $100.