HAMLET — Richmond County Schools delivered furniture from a storage stockpile to Robeson County Thursday in an effort to help restore classrooms ruined by flooding from Hurricane Matthew.
Robeson County closed its schools at 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, as the storm bore down on the low-lying region. Flood waters drove hundreds of residents into shelters as their homes were inundated, while others evacuated farther inland to wait for the water to subside. Schools did not reopen until Wednesday, Nov. 2.
Richmond County Schools spokesperson Ashley-Michelle Thublin said Robeson had reached out to school districts statewide in search of furniture. She said the items donated were surplus and that the district maintenance department “loaded everything up this morning and drove the trucks over there.”
“In total, Richmond County Schools donated 250 desks, 50 chairs and 12 bookcases,” Thublin said. “They were deemed surplus items for our district and had been stored at the old Roberdel School. Our maintenance department transported the furniture to the Public Schools of Robeson County’s warehouse at 653 Selma Road in Lumberton. From there, it will be distributed to schools throughout the county.”
Dennis Quick, Richmond County Schools’ executive director of auxiliary services, said he was glad the department could help.
“(Superintendent) Dr. (Cindy) Goodman suggested I make a phone call to see if we could offer help,” he explained. “So, I emailed Robeson County school’s public information officer and explained that we had several surplus items. They were items Richmond County Schools no longer needed, so we’re just grateful they can be put to good use and help the public schools of Robeson County as they aid their students in returning to normalcy.”
Public Schools of Robeson County Superintendent Tommy Lowry expressed his gratitude for the donated items in an email to the Daily Journal Thursday.
“It is truly a blessing to have school superintendents and staff members from across the state to lend a hand to our students and staff during this time of need,” he said. “Hurricane Matthew impacted every student and staff member. Superintendent Goodman and our neighbors from Richmond County were some of the first to reach out to us after the storm to offer assistance. They will never know how much it means to our students and staff.”
Richmond County Schools Maintenance Department Supervisor Glenn Sims praised his team for their hard work Thursday morning.
“I have a very dedicated, hardworking and kindhearted staff,” he said. “I’m proud to say they consistently embrace the opportunity to help others. They appreciate the fact that they aren’t in the same situation as the Public Schools of Robeson County and understand that it could have just as easily been us.”
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.