Natural disasters like Hurricane Florence often bring out the best in people despite the misery of thousands. Hundreds of Fayetteville-area residents were forced into shelters during the height of the storm last week. Many still have no other place to stay as they recover from the floods that inundated Cumberland County and rural eastern North Carolina. Local residents, businesses and organizations took the lead helping victims of the storms, especially those displaced from their homes.
Cape Fear Flooring and Restoration is one of those businesses. Owners Thomas Foldesi and Amie Crouter began receiving calls even before Florence struck. Both are veterans and responded immediately with disaster-related services, answering hurricane questions and assisting with damage restoration. Business Relations Director Casey Schaffer said, “We have the tools, equipment and know-how to help, and (we) want to make sure our community is safe and taken care of. A lot of what we do is getting people dry to prevent further damage.” The company donated some services to local residents during the hurricane.
In downtown Fayetteville, the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau teamed up with Papa Murphy’s of Cumberland and Wake counties to feed those in need. Thursday, Sept. 20, Papa Murphy’s was on location at the Person Street Visitor’s Center handing out free pizza and bottled water donated by the Wake County Community.
“We have seen firsthand the hit that the Cumberland County com-munity has taken during Hurricane Florence, and … we have partnered with Papa Murphy’s Cumberland County locations to give citizens a warm meal and clean water,” said Angie Brady, director of tourism/cli-ent relations at FACVB.
The Highlands Chapter of the Red Cross in Fayetteville depended on local caterers to help families who were temporarily homeless and living in half a dozen shelters throughout the county. One of the participating companies was Two Brothers Catering, which prepared a thousand meals the first day the shelters were opened. Red Cross vol-unteers picked up the meals at Two Brothers’ kitchen, and with the help of dozens of volunteers, distributed them among the shelters.
Brad McLawhorn and his brother Kelley own Two Brothers. As of this writing, they have prepared more than 8,000 meals made up of hot dogs, pasta, and chicken nuggets with mashed potatoes and green beans.
The Red Cross subsidizes the cost, which doesn’t begin to cover the total expenses for food and prepa-ration. However, it doesn’t matter to the McLawhorns. “It’s a Godly obligation to assist those in need,” Brad said.
The McLawhorns began their catering business 12 years ago. They opened a 6,000-square-foot catering, event and banquet facility on Katie Street about a year ago. It’s called The Vine and now serves as their base of operations. Besides hurricane relief, they intend to host local special events such as weddings, reunions, parties and holiday festivities.
Stories of outreach, rescue and kindness in the aftermath of Florence could fill this entire publication. We live in a community that cares about its residents and takes care of them, and where PWC, city and county first responders work diligently to-gether in a coordinated effort to keep people safe.
Photo: Brad (far left) and Kelley (far right) McLawhorn of Two Brothers catering were two of many business owners who stepped up to help fellow citizens during Hurricane Florence. They were aided in their efforts by Sen. Wesley Meredith (center).