On the evening of November 10th, almost 4,000 youth and adults gathered at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, just a few miles away from the banks of the Cape Fear River that had flooded only two months earlier. By November, the floodwaters had receded, but the impact of this destructive storm remained evident for thousands of North Carolinians. Seeking to meet this need, youth at Pilgrimage 2018 contributed generously to a special offering that would go directly towards storm relief.
In early September 2018, Hurricane Florence battered North Carolina communities. By the middle of September, the youth of the NCCUMC accepted a challenge to raise $500,000 for storm recovery by next June. In just six weeks, the youth of our conference spread the message of a special offering at Pilgrimage 2018. By Pilgrimage 2018, our youth raised $40,880. With the generous matching of the NCCUMC, the current storm relief offering amounts to $81,760.
We hope you’ll join the youth in reaching their goal of $500,000 for storm recovery by June 2019. The NCCUMC will continue to match all donations received for the Youth Storm Response offering through Annual Conference in June 2019. You can give online today or mail a check to ‘Conference Treasurer-Raleigh Area P.O. Box 890202 Charlotte, NC 28289-0202’ made out to NCCUMC with a memo of “Youth Storm Response.”
On Sunday morning during the Pilgrimage 2018 weekend, youth at Pilgrimage were challenged to go into the world and commit to serve others. Youth groups made public pledges to meet the needs of their sisters and brothers across North Carolina and placed these pledges by the altar. From churches across the NCCUMC, our youth made a covenant to:
- Donate school supplies and books to elementary schools in eastern NC
- Host a grilled PB&J fundraiser and donate all proceeds to the storm relief offering
- Pair with local families to assist with yard work
- Give “Welcome Home” baskets to families returning to repaired homes around Christmas time
Samantha Lewis, a ninth grader from Ann Street UMC answered that her church had been responding “to the needs of the county by offering food drives, supply distribution, and work teams” but recognized that “there remains a large amount of homes and buildings in need of repair. Families and individuals, of all ages, were displaced after the hurricane. Some remain unsheltered and some are living in their damaged homes.” How will you meet the needs of those affected by Hurricane Florence?
Some youth traveled to Pilgrimage having left their temporary homes, and others journeyed through North Carolina towns ravaged by the storm to arrive in Fayetteville. The stories of youth affected by Hurricane Florence amplify our call to action. Allie Kittrell, a tenth grade student from Carteret County, testified to the work of the people of United Methodist Church, writing:
“Here in Carteret County, Hurricane Florence has taken a serious toll on our community. Streets are lined with piles containing the contents of what made up our homes. Houses were either flooded from tidal water or from destroyed roofs. Power was out for up to 13 days in some areas. Throughout this horrific time, I have been in awe of my community coming together to help one another. The Ann Street United Methodist Church has been a beacon of light shining through the darkness. A free store was set up in our building where thousands visited to get the supplies they needed. As quickly as the items were going out more were arriving. We cannot thank our United Methodist family enough for the donations you have sent to us and the time you have donated coming down to be a part of the work teams who went out into the community. Although Hurricane Florence has already been gone for weeks now, it still feels like yesterday. There is still so much to be done. This special donation will help the hundreds of people who have been displaced from this storm. The recovery processes has just begun and we thank you for love, donations, and support for the months to come.”
As you keep the words and experiences of our youth close to you, please consider giving to the youth storm response offering. The NCCUMC will continue to match all donations received for the Youth Storm Response offering through Annual Conference in June 2019.
You can give online today or mail a check to ‘Conference Treasurer-Raleigh Area P.O. Box 890202 Charlotte, NC 28289-0202’ made out to NCCUMC with a memo of “Youth Storm Response.”