The devastation and heartbreak Hurricane Florence has brought to North Carolina is hard to comprehend. Even now as the storm leaves our state, North Carolina families are facing flood waters, struggling to find food and clean water, and anxiously wondering when they can return home.
Every single day MomsRising is proud that our more than 42,000 North Carolina members come from all 100 counties and every corner of the state, but today our hearts are breaking with all of those whose lives have been upended.
With the help of our partners and various elected officials, we’ve pulled together the resources below both for those directly affected by Florence and for those who want to help in this tragedy and the recovery that will follow.
We also know that voting is going to be harder this cycle for displaced communities, but it's especially important to make sure your voices are heard on those making recovery decisions. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for information on voting and how to get an absentee ballot.
Resources for those directly affected
- North Carolina 2-1-1: An information and referral service provided by the United Way of North Carolina with connections to services like housing and shelter, food, health care and more. To reach live support 24/7, Dial 2-1-1, 888-892-1162 or text Florence to 898211. The service is free, confidential, and multilingual.
- ReadyNC / Ready NC en Español: Resources in English and Spanish to assist with recovery and rebuilding.
- Shelters: Find out whether shelters are handicapped accessible or accept pets here and whether they have openings here.
- To report discrimination entering shelters: Please call the NC Justice Center at 774-255-3286 and leave a message. This hotline is bilingual in Spanish.
- Food and Nutrition Assistance: North Carolinians in the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) program are able to purchase hot food, including food prepared for immediate consumption, from authorized Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) retailers using their EBT card. All authorized EBT vendors in the state have been notified about this change, which is effective until Oct. 31.
- Lost your EBT card? Replace it by calling the EBT Call Center at 1-888-622-7328.
- SNAP Claims: The USDA has extended the time to allow Simplified Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to submit claims for food lost in the disaster. SNAP participants who were affected have until October 15th to report food loss and submit waivers to replace their benefits.
- Department of Health and Human Services: For answers to questions regarding services provided by DHHS, visit: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/hurricane-florence
- FEMA benefits for immigrants and tenants: The NC Justice Center has developed flyers in English (found here: https://bit.ly/2Nr4O3e) and Spanish (found here: https://bit.ly/2D8j7EO), regarding immigrant eligibility for FEMA, Disaster SNAP (food stamps), and other disaster benefits. The flyer also discusses which benefits are available to tenants, to homeowners, and to those “renting to own,” and provides links to disaster resources and immigrant eligibility information available in English and Spanish from Ready NC, FEMA, Legal Aid of NC, NC Justice, NILC, and more.
- Lactation and Infant Feeding Emergencies: Information and helpful guides for health workers, frontline responders, shelter managers, and volunteers supporting families in their communities from the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute.
- Disaster recovery resources for caregivers, clinicians, and parents from NC Child: A blog from NC Child featuring resources compiled by Elizabeth Hudgins, Executive Director of the NC Pediatric Society covering donation and volunteer options, information for clinicians & parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics, resources for families & caregivers, resources for recognizing & coping with children’s trauma, disaster resources in additional languages.
- Helping Children Cope with Disaster: Blog written by NC Child’s Michelle Hughes in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. Includes resources for schools, caregivers, parents and others who need to respond to the needs of children and youth displaced by natural disaster.
- Unemployment Benefits for Job Losses due to Hurricane: Workers who are or may become unemployed due to Hurricane Florence may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). Visit des.nc.gov or call 1-866-795-8877
- Housing and home repairs: NC Department of Public Safety has information on how to apply for financial assistance on housing or repairs for those displaced by the storm at https://www.ncdps.gov/Emergency-Management/Disaster-Recovery/Individual-Assistance
- Crisis Cleanup: If you sustain damage or flooding to your home and need assistance with cleanup, in coordination with Team Rubicon, the public may call 1-800-451-1954. For more information visit www.crisiscleanup.org.
- Insurance questions: For insurance questions or to find victim assistance centers, visit the NC Department of Insurance website at NCHurriClaims.com or call 855-408-1212
- Power: Call Duke Energy at POWERON(800.796.3766) if you are still without power or see a fallen power line.
- Road information: For the latest on road closures, visit the NC Department of Transportation at https://tims.ncdot.gov/tims/.
- Debris in roads: Contact the NC Department of Public Safety for assistance in removing major debris from roads. https://www.ncdps.gov/emergency-management/em-community/recovery-mitigation/debris-management
- Disaster-Related Legal Resources: Visit NC Legal Aid or the NC Bar Association.
Ways to help
Many groups are mobilizing to meet the needs of affected communities. A few to consider:
- NC Hurricane Florence Frontline Fund: Blueprint, a NC-based nonprofit, has been supporting Eastern NC leaders to build a regional table that centers black and working class people. This fund will support on-the-ground groups that do not have the capacity to receive online donations, but who are already providing leadership and offering direct services to those bearing the brunt of economic and environmental devastation in the region.
- A Just Florence Recovery: A continuously updated resource with information on donations and drop off locations, community distribution centers, and more.
- Local initiatives: Many local community initiatives are underway to benefit individual affected communities. To find out more, visit this blog from our partners at Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!)
- NC Diaper Bank: The NC Diaper Bank is collecting diapers, feminine hygiene products, and adult incontinence supplies. You can support their efforts by giving online, dropping off donations, volunteering to package kits, or donating from their Amazon wish list.
- Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina: The Food Bank is mobilizing to provide emergency food, water, and supplies. Visit their webpage for information on donating online, dropping off donations, and for a list of needed supplies.
- North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund: This is the official state recovery fund. Secure donations can be made online or by check through the Governor’s office. The Governor’s office is also offering NC residents a chance to volunteer their time and skills in the aftermath of the storm. Complete this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XC5QDYB
Your voice is powerful
Far too many families are displaced and will be in the weeks and months ahead. Especially in these uncertain times, every one's voice is still powerful and needed. Local, state, and federal elected officials will be making the decisions about the support impacted communities need to recover, and your voice must be heard in choosing who those people will be. If you are displaced, you can still vote via absentee ballot. Request one here.
As our partners at the NAACP shared, according to the NC State Board of Elections:
“Any registered North Carolina voter may request an absentee ballot by mail. No excuse is needed to vote by absentee. To request an absentee ballot, complete the North Carolina Absentee Ballot Request Form. The Absentee Ballot Request Form may only be signed by the voter or a voter’s near relative or legal guardian. According to the law, a "near relative" can be any of the following: spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, or stepchild of the voter. A completed Absentee Ballot Request Form may be scanned and emailed, faxed, or mailed to the county board of elections.”
Anyone not registered to vote at their current address may send in their updated voter registration form along with the absentee ballot application, but that must be done by Friday, October 12th, the last day to register by mail to vote in the November 6th election this year. 2016 showed us that Hurricane Matthew impacted voter participation in flood-affected areas. We can’t let that happen again. Your voice is too important. Don’t forget to request your absentee ballot here.
In good times and in bad, we are all more powerful together. Our hearts are with our affected MomsRising members, their families, their neighbors, and communities, and we urge all of our members to support the recovery efforts in whatever ways you can. North Carolina will get through this together.
Help make sure these resources and ways to help get in the hands of those who need them by sharing widely. We will continue to update these resources in the days and weeks ahead.