This news story has been updated regarding contact info below for Volunteer help.
Nov. 27, 2019.
By Connie Leinbach
At this time of Thanksgiving, Ocracoke Island continues to receive help as it recovers and rebuilds from the destruction by Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 6.
The island will open to visitors on Dec. 2, but it is not back to “normal,” and help will be needed for many months but in a more focused way.
Today– about three months after the storm–Ocracoke is beyond bulk food and clothing drives, said Alicia Peel, who administers the Ocracoke Disaster Relief online requests. Now, the focus is on the specialized needs of residents, which are being gathered by caseworkers who visit all families and individuals who request help.
“That’s why we’ve done all this case work,” Peel said. “To understand what each family needs so we can address that instead of just having piles of stuff.”
More importantly, Ocracoke just does not have the storage space for mass quantities of goods. Ocracoke has received help in the form of space and hot water heaters, furniture and bedding, but the management challenge is storing donated items until people are ready to receive them.
Ocracoke, being an island, has unique logistical challenges for receiving goods, services and building materials via a ferry system that can sometimes be sidelined by weather or mechanical reasons. That’s why it’s important for those who want to help, to visit the Ocracoke Disaster Relief Facebook page to find out the specific needs.
“Thank you to all of the amazing people who have reached out to donate money and goods, organize fundraisers and volunteer,” Peel said. “We would not be able to complete this journey without you.”
What you can do to help
Ocracoke Strong Kitchen
If you would like to make a donation to the Ocracoke Strong Kitchen, which has been providing free lunch to residents since the state-funded free meals ended mid-October, you can send a check made out to that moniker and send it to PO Box 63 (c/o Jason Wells). 100 percent of donations goes straight to the purchasing of food and supplies for our free lunch program for the community.
The Kitchen will close Dec. 1 until Dec. 9.
The United Methodist Church Regional Disaster Response Center is coordinating all of the volunteer faith-based groups coming to the island. For information on how to join in or donate to this cause, call the hotline at 1-888-440-9167.
To give monetary donations:
The two local churches can receive and distribute your assistance. Please send your check directly to either of the following with “Hurricane Dorian Relief” in the memo line:
Ocracoke Life Saving Church
P.O. Box 68
Ocracoke, NC 27960
Ocracoke United Methodist Church
P.O. Box 278
Ocracoke, NC 27960
You also can donate to Ocracoke School:
Ocracoke School Donation
P.O. Box 217
Swan Quarter, NC 27885
Or visit the Outer Banks Community Foundation and designate your donation for Ocracoke: www.obcf.org/donate-now/disaster-relief-fund-donate/