ONE Y E A R L AT E R
Still on the Job
BY PAT BRADFORD | PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALLISON POTTER
It’s been almost a full year since Hurricane Florence brought
sustained wind, rain, flooding and abject misery to Eastern
North Carolina, but there is still much to be done. Out of the
media spotlight, many hurricane victims still face great need.
The region was flooded with nonprofit organizations and
church groups after the storm, doing short-term disaster
recovery. One group that is still on the job with a mission to
continue for as long as it takes in the effort to help victims of
Hurricane Florence is the Cape Fear Volunteer Center.
The CFVC is not a new organization. For the past 15 years it has
assisted nonprofits by mobilizing volunteers to support their
operations. It also directs donations of goods to victims for free
distribution and connects victims to available resources.
One of its best-known initiatives is the Big Buddy program,
which provides one-on-one mentoring for at-risk youth ages
5-17 in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender Counties by
matching them with positive adult role models.
But mostly this nonprofit organizes volunteers to assist
“It takes time and money to recruit and support people who
want to volunteer. And unlike other charities in our area, we
are a clearing house for volunteers to serve the community. We
keep very few for ourselves; we are like a big middleman,” says
Annie Anthony, Cape Fear Volunteer Center’s CEO and execu-tive
For May, June and July 2019 CFVC mobilized 100 volunteers
for 35 hours a week to work on different types of long-term
“We are part of the disaster coalition, and everything we
are doing right now is to alleviate the challenges and suffering
that New Hanover County has experienced from Hurricane
Florence,” Anthony says.
The New Hanover County Disaster Coalition is an alliance of
community leaders, faith groups, nonprofits and members of
the public working toward the relief and recovery of all county
residents affected by disaster.
CFVC volunteers are still restoring homes damaged by
Florence, including complete demolition and assorted rebuild
projects to include painting, cleaning, hanging drywall,
etc. They assist hurricane survivors with furniture needs and
help them move back home from temporary residences. They
are completing property cleanups, including yard work and
cutting down trees and limbs.
“We assist victims of Hurricane Florence with any unmet
need they may have; since February, we have moved over 53
residents either into temporary housing or into their new long-term
residences.,” say Lee Pridgen, project manager for CFVC.
“We have handled over 35 projects including demo, rebuild,
painting, yard work, roof tarps, etc.”
They still have a backlog of more than 200 projects for hur-ricane
“Some are furniture deliveries that can be completed in an
afternoon, and others are more in depth and will require weeks
of commitment from volunteers and ourselves,” Pridgen says.
He says CFVC still needs volunteers, whether it is for an hour
once a week, or multiple dates over a longer period of time.
WBM september 2019