ROCKINGHAM — A Wilmington transplant from Richmond County is doing her best to help her coastal neighbors after Hurricane Florence.
Morgan Denham Canady and her husband, Jesse, on Tuesday took a load of food and gas donations to Wilmington to assist in relief efforts, and are soliciting more donations for a load to be taken on Friday at 2 p.m.
The initial load focused on food and gas — a whole truck and trailer full — but now Morgan Canady said Wilmington residents were requesting basic household items to assist in repairs, including water, tarps, cleaning supplies, trash bags, gloves and gift cards for grocery stores. No tarps were in the first load.
She and her husband have lived in Wilmington for eight years, and when they left last week to head for Rockingham — when Florence was still a Category 4 hurricane — they “didn’t know if we would be coming back to anything.”
But their house was okay, no flood water or major roof damage.
“We felt so blessed,” Morgan Canady said. “For the people we knew who have (damage), we knew we had to help.”
Jesse Canady is from the beach originally, and his wife said he had a “bleeding heart for anyone in need.”
The initial load came from about 15 close friends and family plus strangers, but the couple are opening their appeal to the public for Friday’s load.
“It’s been so encouraging to see our community be so generous,” she said.
Morgan posted on Facebook on Wednesday morning and quickly got more than 10 shares from strangers willing to help.
If you would like to help, you can message Morgan Denham Canady on Facebook or call or text her at 910-331-1547. The drop-off location will be the Carolina Jewelry and Pawn at 646 E. Broad Ave. Again, the deadline for the second load of donations is 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21.
Shelters serve about 200 storm refugees. Richmond County set up two shelters to support those displaced by Hurricane Florence.
The Richmond Senior High School shelter took in 189 people — with the highest volume at one time being 102 — and six pets, according to Theressa Smith, staff-development specialist with the Richmond County Department of Social Services.
Smith specified that the 189 figure was how many people signed in and did not account for repeated signatures from people who left and came back.
The Mineral Springs Elementary School shelter took in nine people, Smith said.
The Mineral Springs shelter closed at 2 p.m. Sunday and the high school shelter, at 9 a.m. Monday.
Richmond rangers help Scotland County. Rangers from the Richmond County Forest Service are in Scotland County, handing out food and water to those affected by Hurricane Florence and helping with relief efforts in other parts of the state.
Richmond County Ranger Jack Franklin said he was called Monday morning to set up a point of distribution in Scotland County.
“We’re seeing that things run smoothly,” he said. “The most damage I’ve seen was flooding in Scotland County. There was some in Richmond, but nothing out of the capacity of the city (to handle).”
Everything’s just fine at the fishery. The McKinney Lake Fish Hatchery outside Hoffman fared well after Hurricane Florence, hatchery Superintendent Rick Bradford said.
“Fortunately, they like the water,” he said of the fish.
Before the hurricane hit, Bradford explained, workers lowered water levels by about two feet to accommodate water dumped by the storm.
“There was no flooding,” he said. “The water got high, but everything has gone back down now.”
The hatchery features 23 warm-water ponds and covers more than 18 acres of water. It primarily raises channel catfish and robust redhorse suckers for the Pee Dee River.
Hamlet firefighters help in Scotland. Hamlet Fire Rescue and EMS posted on Facebook on Wednesday that all of their “personnel have made it back to Hamlet safe, it was our pleasure to help our neighbors in need. Hamlet crews rescued around 200 people from high water. We were blessed in Richmond County that the storm spared us from the worst.”
Bradford said the hatchery was running smoothly, and the fish were doing just fine.
Reporter Jasmine Hager contributed to this report. Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]