• 79°

School pushes forward with drive for Lumberton

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — When Hurricane Matthew caused heavy flooding and damage in Eastern North Carolina, several area schools rose to the occasion. At North Rowan Elementary, Kristina Sheets’ fourth grade class collected water and canned goods from the community. At South Rowan High School, Austin Chrismon, the student body president, and Officer Brandon Linn, school resource officer, teamed up to launch a county-wide “RoCo for RoCo” drive.

Both schools have completed their initial drive, set for one week, and delivered the items to Lumberton.

“We ended up having multiple community donations coming in,” Sheets said.

Donators included Pittsburgh Steelers player Javon Hargrave and his father, Timothy Bates, a local pastor. Sheets said she also received a phone call from a woman in Rockwell whose husband and son were both truck drivers with plans to deliver donated goods to Lumberton. On Oct. 21, the son, Adam Kennerly, swung by the school to pick up the items.

Sheets said the class collected a variety of items, including water, canned goods, diapers and toiletries. But most of all, she’s proud of her students.

“I was really so surprised that something so small — just a conversation in the classroom — bloomed into something so large,” she said.

While North Rowan’s donation window has closed, South Rowan is still collecting goods. Linn personally delivered goods collected by local schools and his church, Landis Baptist, on Oct. 21.

Between what was collected at the church and the school, Linn and others delivered 115 cases of water, numerous baby supplies and hygiene products. They also donated approximately 200 children’s coats and jackets and a number of clothing items. Linn said he was proud of Chrismon, and the Landis and China Grove community.

“The response from everyone within the community … has really, really been overwhelming and its been awesome,” Linn said.

But when he got to Lumberton, Linn said he was shocked. Robeson County was one of the hardest hit in the state, but Linn said that knowing that and seeing it were worlds apart.

“It’s really devastated,” he said.

In town, the houses are gutted. Furniture, mattresses, toys, sheetrock and drywall are piled up against the curb — everything too far gone to be salvaged. In some areas, Linn said, the smell of mold and mildew was “overwhelming.”

The people of Robeson County are put up in hotels or in Red Cross shelters, many of them with nowhere to go. Linn said he and six volunteers from his church spent Monday in Lumberton manning a food distribution center. The line was long as people queued up to receive cases of water and “big old trash bags” of food and other items.

“You couldn’t stop, couldn’t stop,” Linn said.

Linn, who has children of his own, said it was especially heartbreaking to see families with infants or smaller children, and to see the look on the faces of the people there — people who are trying to figure out where to go, or what their next step will be.

“It’s so devastating knowing that these folks have nowhere to go. They can’t go to their home,” he said.

South Rowan High School and Landis Baptist will continue collecting items as long as they’re needed.

“It’s definitely not something you can clean up overnight and something that you can fix within a day,” Linn said of the damage.

It’s likely, he said, that the people of Robeson County will continue to need items until after the new year. Currently, the biggest needs are baby items: diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, pacifiers, baby wash and baby shampoo.

Linn plans to make another trip to Lumberton on Nov. 19 to deliver items.

“I would want someone to do the same for us here if something like that happened to us here,” Linn said. “So if there’s a need I’ll definitely be there.”

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.

Comments

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges

Local

Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting

Local

Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest

News

N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured

Education

Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12

Local

Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September

Lifestyle

Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers

Education

Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners

Business

Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs

Columns

Amy-Lynn Albertson: Arts and Ag Farm Tour set for June 5

High School

High school baseball: Mustangs top Falcons on strength of hurlers

Business

Biz Roundup: Application process now open for Rowan Chamber’s 29th Leadership Rowan class

Sports

Keith Mitchell leads McIlroy, Woodland by 2 at Quail Hollow

Nation/World

States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

Nation/World

Major US pipeline halts operations after ransomware attack

News

NC budget dance slowed as GOP leaders differ on bottom line

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting

Coronavirus

People receiving first dose of COVID-19 vaccine grows by less than 1%