PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - For six months, Sand Hills AME church in the tiny community of White Stocking has been a beacon of hope for residents in the community who lost everything during Hurricane Florence. The church has helped victims even with their own doors closed.
“It was horrendous, we cried and prayed a whole lot,” said Pastor Sandra Davis, who has been a the helm of the church for more than 20 years.
The church’s sanctuary was waterlogged after Florence as the building was inundated with floodwaters as high as 8 feet.
“The whole church was messed up...fish on the floor, mold and mildew. It was awful,” Davis explained.
Church members put repairs on hold so they could help the community around them. Trailers have been parked in the church lot for months as volunteers handed out food, water, supplies, even hot showers to those in need. Many in their community still have yet to return to their homes.
“When people are displaced, it’s more than the physical being that is torn up, it’s mental thing that you go through when you lose everything. It takes something out of you and to have it back, it puts joy in our hearts,” said Davis.
Thanks to Hosanna Industries, a non-profit out of Pittsburgh, 60 volunteers have descended upon the church, working feverishly this week to put back this instrument of hope for the community. Crews are currently repairing the adjacent fellowship hall first, putting that back together to get the congregation in as soon as possible, then will focus on the sanctuary itself.
“It feels amazing. God has been so good. He has blessed us so much. These folks are so excited they are doing it and glad about it,” said Davis.
Once the fellowship hall is finished, the church will resume holding services. Davis hopes the sanctuary will also be complete by Easter Sunday.
“The people that have come here, we hope they come back because when your whole neighborhood is destroyed and you can come to one place and get normalcy, that means a lot,” she said.
Church members are still passing out supplies this week to Florence victims in the White Stocking and surrounding communities.