Lumberton organization seeks support for continued shelter for Florence victims

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One Lumberton organization is calling on the community to help after families displaced by Hurricane Florence, and living in motels, are now in jeopardy of becoming homeless.

“Everyday is like D-Day for people living in motels,” said Randy Lewis of Christian Outreach Center.

This is why Connie Blackman has kept her U-Haul trailer packed with her belongings. There’s not much room for them inside her tiny motel room at Motel 6. “It’s been a very uphill struggle. Each day is like am I going to make it through this day or am I going to have to sleep in the van with my dog,” said Connie Blackman

Blackman lost everything during Hurricane Florence. She was denied FEMA help so she keeps a notebook full of contacts from churches and non-profits.

While they do what they can, funds are starting to run low. “I’m a disabled senior citizen,” said Blackman.

Thankfully, the Christian Outreach Center stepped up. Randy Lewis first opened a warehouse to give flood victims clothing and supplies and for months. They paid for motel rooms for more than two dozen families but Lewis still wanted to do more.

“We had five different churches that started working to turn this facility into a lack of a better term into a shelter,” said Lewis.

Hurricane victim Bobby Smith was even willing to put in some sweat equity for a spot inside the shelter. “We totally lost our trailer. We were renting a trailer. Lost everything in it- clothes, everything,” said Smith.

By the afternoon, all of the volunteers were sent home after devastating news from building inspectors.

“We can’t use any of the two by fours or any other wood that we have. It’s about $30,000,” said Lewis.

Now it’s back to square one.

“We need some donations to buy metal studs for this other building..sheet rock, the whole ‘sha-bang’,” said Lewis.

Time is running out as motel reservations expire on November 30.

“If this drags around people are going to be homeless,” said Lewis.

You can send monetary donations to The Christian Outreach Center at P.O Box 7499, Lumberton, BC 28358 or contact Randy Lewis at 910-301-0079.

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