Following the flood
August 17 2001 by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor

Following the flood | Friday, Aug. 17, 2001

Friday, Aug. 17, 2001

Following the flood

By Jimmy Allen BR Assistant Editor GRIFTON - More than 1,300 of the houses flooded almost two years ago during Hurricane Floyd have been rebuilt through the efforts of N.C. Baptists. And the work goes on. Work is now centered in the town of Grifton where flooding covered much of the town and where N.C. Baptists have converted a 50,000-square-foot warehouse into an operations center with kitchen facilities, bunk beds for up to 230 people, showers, bathrooms, equipment storage, an office and a sanctuary.

"We think we'll be around ten months or so," said Richard Brunson, executive director of N.C. Baptist Men, referring to the amount of work that remains. Relief work from Hurricane Floyd has become N.C. Baptist Men's largest project ever, he said.

About 100 additional houses are scheduled to be rebuilt in the Grifton area, and N.C. Baptist Men is committed to finish those houses, Brunson said.

Volunteers are needed on weekends (no Sunday work) and weekdays. For information on volunteering, see N.C. Baptist Men's Web site at and click on disaster relief, then click on Floyd relief.

Helen Register of Turkey Baptist Church, Turkey, led a team to serve meals during a World Changers visit in July.

She said the relief center is well organized, making it easy to volunteer. She hopes the Eastern Baptist Association will send more teams.

"We really went to help the people and let them know we care," Register said. "We came back blessed."

Although N.C. Baptist Men has committed to rebuild the remaining 100 houses in the Grifton area, other homes need to be rebuilt. A new request for help comes to the operations center about every week, Brunson said.

Those homeowners are being put on a waiting list. If N.C. Baptist Men has enough funds after the others are completed, then those on the waiting list will be helped in the order they sought help.

"We're at a stage where we're not telling everyone who asks for help we'll be able to help," Brunson said.

Funding for the flood relief has come from about $3 million in donations received since the storm hit. The remaining amount should be enough to complete the houses that have been scheduled, Brunson said. The additional houses will likely need a church partner in order to be rebuilt.

Throughout Eastern North Carolina, about 800 partnerships between churches and homeowners have been established.

Church members from other Christian denominations are volunteering through N.C. Baptist Men. For example, the Moravian Church has donated money for the effort and has faithfully sent volunteers to work, Brunson said. Those volunteers stay at the operations center and are assigned to a house, he said.

The operations center was a manufacturing facility until the company went bankrupt in the late 1980s. By the time N.C. Baptist Men started using the facility for storage, the building was in need of major repairs and probably valued at only $50,000, Brunson said. A roofing company donated a new roof valued at $75,000, a window company replaced the broken windows, and volunteers have worked to make the facility useful for the relief effort.

Because the manufacturing company went bankrupt, ownership of the building is still in question. After the relief effort is complete, the building will probably be sold through bid. Brunson is hoping someone will buy the facility and donate it to N.C. Baptist Men.

"Strategically, it's in a good location," Brunson said, noting the facility is almost in the center of Eastern North Carolina.

It could be a good place for storing equipment and supplies, housing volunteers and providing training for disaster relief, he said.

"We've had thousands and thousands of people to stay there," he said.

(EDITOR'S NOTE - N.C. Baptist Men is one of the recipients of the annual N.C. Missions Offering. The week of prayer for this year's offering is Sept. 9-16.)

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8/17/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments
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