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James Taylor is pitching in on hurricane relief in his former home state of North Carolina.
The singer, who spent his formative years in Chapel Hill, announced the James Taylor Million Meals Challenge Tuesday night. Taylor wants to raise money to help people affected by Hurricanes Florence and Michael, particularly in New Bern and in Eastern North Carolina.
“While the devastation from Hurricanes Florence and Michael seems overwhelming, my wife, Kim, and I and our friends to do wahtever we can to help,” he said in a video message from his home.
Wearing a UNC baseball camp, he asked for support for the campaign, saying he will match donations dollar for dollar, seeking to raise enough money to provide 1 million meals — about $100,000 — through the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.
“We are inspired by the resilience of people in Florida and in the Carolinas, neighbor helping neighbor, by people from all parts in the country pitching in to do their part,” he said.
The money from Taylor’s challenge is earmarked for the 22 North Carolina counties that were declared federal disaster areas from Hurricane Florence. All gifts are tax-deductible. For details, go to foodbankcenc.org/jamestaylor.
Although Taylor is a native of Boston, he has deep family ties to North Carolina going back to the 18th century. That’s when his great-great-grandfather was among the first settlers of the town of New Bern.
Taylor grew up in Chapel Hill during the 1960s, when his father was dean of the medical school at UNC. He played in a series of early bands there, starting with the Corsayers, led by his older brother Alex.
Over the years, Taylor has paid tribute to his time in North Carolina with songs. The best-known one is his 1968 signature “Carolina in My Mind,” the state’s unofficial theme song.
There is also 1991’s “Copperline,” co-written with the late novelist Reynolds Price, which is about growing up in the Morgan Creek neighborhood. The James Taylor Bridge on U.S. 15-501 over Morgan Creek was dedicated in 2003.