WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - On the outside, Erica and Scott Biggs’ house today looks pretty much the same as it did before Hurricane Florence. A year ago, though, the inside was destroyed by flood waters from the storm.
"Open the door, the smell hit you,” says Scott. “The smell was the worse.”
The Biggs say about 15 to 16 inches of water destroyed all their belongings. They stayed with Erica’s mother during the height of the storm.
"We lost everything that we owned," Erica said. The couple and their three children had no choice but to stay with Erica’s mom while they determined how they were going to rebuild their home since they had no flood insurance.
The inside had to be completely gutted. Scott did much of the work himself and they got a FEMA loan. Then one day they got an unexpected call from the Red Cross. "I was sitting there one day and I actually didn't even believe it. The phone beeped and it said the Red Cross. I actually had to call them to confirm because I knew I hadn't contacted them,” Scott said.
The Biggs received a check from the Red Cross for $3100.
James Jarvis, executive director of the American Red Cross of the Cape Fear Chapter said hundreds of families across the Carolinas received similar checks thanks to donations made to non-profit organization.
“In the days following the storm, we provided more than 6,600 households with a total of $4.6 million in immediate financial assistance to help them address some of their most urgent needs in the storm’s aftermath,” Jarvis said. “ As of Sept. 3, 2019, we have provided more than 6,300 households with a total of $15.9 million in direct financial assistance to support longer term needs. These payments were $2,500 per family.”
Some of the money included donations raised during a telethon WECT hosted for the Red Cross a few weeks after the storm. Over $355,000 was raised in one day.
Erica says their Red Cross check could not have come at a better time as they were starting to run out of money. "It was awesome,” she says. “I mean we were not expecting it and it came at the right time.”
11 months after being forced out of their home, the Biggs are back in their new house--brand new flooring—a new kitchen—a new staircase.
They credit neighbors, friends and the Red Cross for helping them get back home. "The fact that people were so supportive was really what got us through it,” says Erica. “We couldn’t have done it without that.”