LUMBERTON, NC – Hurricane Florence brought record amounts of rainfall to parts of North Carolina, and over 1 million people lost power across the state. Many in the hardest hit areas need food and water, and they're getting that help courtesy of Operation Blessing.
After routing around closed highways, and making it through flooded streets, the Operation Blessing team set up to serve meals to families in need in Lumberton, NC.
"Oh, y'all are a blessin'" Barbara said.
"There's not enough thank you's to go around. Just like speechless, especially whenever you've got children," one grateful mother said.
This is one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Florence. Pastor Mike Bowen from East Lumberton Baptist Church is doing his best to help his congregation.
"Our town's in dire straits right now, and there's drastic needs. This time it hit land, and slowed down, and kept dropping rain for over 48 hours to our town," Pastor Bowen said.
Step one is getting people water, and getting them fed. "It was really a blessing that y'all came in, and it helped us a lot," a young boy named Landon said.
Over at Without Limits Christian Center in New Bern, 42 Operation Blessing volunteers served 135 families, filling 90 cars with relief supplies.
That effort in New Bern includes a 53-foot truck loaded with commodities, along with a grant to support the church's kitchen pavilion for two weeks.
In the Fayetteville-Fort Bragg area, Operation Blessing is delivering supplies to Manna Church which has been providing shelter and feeding programs while also dispensing emergency relief supplies.
So far, Operation Blessing is serving hot meals, delivering pallets of drinking water, and providing truckloads of food to help out at multiple sites across North Carolina.
And pretty soon, they'll be helping residents start the cleanup process. A trailer filled with demolition and cleanup equipment is already on site, and OB has been collecting people's names and getting their requests so they can help them get back on their feet in the weeks ahead.
Once the floodwaters subside, Operation Blessing will be saving people's homes. Right now, local residents are just grateful for a hot meal.
Ashley Tatum said, "It's a blessing, really. And I just want to thank them so much, because without them, who don't know what we would be doing and where we would get it from."
Pastor Bowen said he deeply appreciates those who support the work of Operation Blessing, for helping the community, and the members of the church in Lumberton.
"I want to thank y'all again for giving to our church. The Bible says you're storing up treasures in heaven by doing this. Thank y'all," he said.