Many of us would be forgiven for feeling that Hurricane Florence, which roared through North Carolina two years ago this month, was in the far distant past — especially during a pandemic. Anna Newman ’21 would not let current events distract her from helping Ivanhoe, NC, which was devastated by Florence’s floodwaters.
Earlier this year, Newman, whose family roots in Ivanhoe reach back over generations, began planning a furniture drive to provide relief to families who are still rebuilding their lives and their homes.
“The longterm need for recovery should not be forgotten. Twenty percent of the people in Sampson County are living in poverty; many do not have flood insurance and therefore still struggle to refurnish their homes. I thought that having a furniture drive in Ivanhoe would be one way to give back to the community,” explains Newman.
Early in 2020, Newman began working with CA’s Center for Community Engagement to ensure that her efforts helped as many people as possible. Initially, the furniture drive was to take place on April 4, but those plans were derailed as a result of COVID-19. However, the delay allowed Newman to increase the impact of her service efforts, beyond only accepting donating furniture.
“This summer, I raised money for the drive, by washing cars in my neighborhood, which helped pay for furniture purchases at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.”
The rescheduled (and much bigger) furniture drive took place this past Saturday in Ivanhoe. The event, planned to last four hours, had distributed most of the furniture within 45 minutes, providing roughly 70 pieces of furniture to 20 Sampson County families in need.
Noting the assistance from her parents, who helped Ivanhoe residents load furniture into cars and trucks, Newman adds, “we gave priority to people who had water inside their homes and lost all of their belongings; after that, the furniture was open to anyone in the community in need of new furniture. The recovery is far from over, and this furniture drive was a way to help people still in need.”