Disaster can bring out the best in people, especially in the Yadkin Valley.
As fire and freezing continues to decimate families and the communities they live in, Yadkin Valley residents have stepped up to the challenge by offering donations beyond those that keep several assisting organizations functioning.
In addition to a conference room full of donations of tents, sleeping bags and warm weather gear to the Helping Hands Your Neighbors’ Pantry program, financial donations also have been made.
Donations to Helping Hands allow the program to continue to serve the community in the moment of need.
“They are stocked by sponsors and the public,” said organizer Misty Matthews. “They are to service anyone in need, whether it’s short or long term.”
“I really like the Little Pantries because folks can get the items they need anytime 24/7,” said Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministries Director Heather Macy. “Those are a great resource in our community.”
So is Tri-C where, no matter a person’s income, counselors will help a family decimated by disaster.
“One of the main things we do here is help people connect to other resources,” said Macy, explaining in case of a calamity like a fire Tri-C can help any family with basic supplies such as food and blankets.
Disasters are difficult for everyone, but they can be more so on low-income families who might be unable to carry enough insurance to restart a household.
“It really is a case-by-case basis with every single person that comes here,” said Macy. She encouraged anyone in need of assistance to visit Tri-C to bring ID, Social Security card and know the income and expenditures for the entire household.
“We consider a folder the same as a household,“ said Macy, “so if there’s three adults that all get some type of income, the one coming needs to be able to know that.
“Even those children that are adults still living in that home. Whether they share expenses or not, we count them as living in that same household.”
Interviewers at Tri-C will help clients look at expenditures verses income and make recommendations, including services through other organizations.
Should a potential client reside outside of the Tri-C service area, which is zip codes 27011, 27017, 27020, 28621, 28642, 28669, 28670, 28676, 28683 and 28685, clerks will help find services in the appropriate area.
Those families who must find a new home due to disaster may be able to find a variety of assistance through Tri-C.
“There’s several different things that we help with,” said Macy, “we do power, water, medication and clothing.
“If they find a new home within our area, we can help them with getting [utilities] turned on like a deposit for power if they need it or with water.”
Tri-C also helps through partner organizations.
“We partner with the [Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital] Thrift Shop, Habitat [ReStore] will do housewares and furniture. Grace Clinic is another partner agency, I guess you call it. They do help with medication.”
Tri-C will help maneuver through the specific guidelines of each agency as well as recommend other resources.
“Some people don’t know that Red Cross helps with fires,” said Macy, “they just think they do blood drives so we give them that information as well.”
According to American Red Cross Case Worker for Surry and Yadkin counties, Barbara George, the Red Cross usually gets involved on scene.
“We don’t respond just because [the fire department] do[es],” said George, explaining an emergency worker on scene will notify the Red Cross at the request of the family.
“Then someone comes out to the scene and assesses the family’s needs. We find out if they have a place to stay for the night, and if they don’t have one, we provide the financial assistance for a hotel.”
Red Cross also provides vouchers for clothing through Salvation Army. Goodwill also provides the Red Cross with vouchers for clothing as well as housewares.
Habitat For Humanity participates in the Red Cross programs as well as helping locally through Tri-C.
“The first thing I always recommend is calling 221, the United Way Helpline,” said George. “Sometimes it’s hard to get through, but keep trying.”
It’s always hard to get through the devastation of destruction.
“As the time passes since the fire, we are healing and we will rebuild,” said Kelly Hembree, an Elkin employee who lost her home Dec. 30, 2017, “but hearing of this family losing a child is horrific and it brings it all back.”
The horror also helps with perspective.
“Losing everything has totally changed my attitude towards everything,” said Hembree. “I used to love my things, now my attachment to things has diminished greatly. My attachments are my family, my friends. It’s the one-on-one with people that I appreciate.”
“One can’t help many, but many can help one,” said Tammy Spicer of Mom’s Clothes Closet, where anyone can receive assistance with no questions asked.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.