hurricane florence animals

We had a few days of lovely weather here in North Carolina.

That’s why I don’t live anywhere else at this point in my life. I want sunshine, blue skies and no humidity in November. This year’s weather has been weird, but, yesterday, we finally eeked out a gorgeous day. So, I did what comes naturally to me: I went to the beach.

I haven’t driven down to the coast since Hurricane Florence because, well, it’s a goddamn mess.

I take the back roads to the beach, and the damage from the Cape Fear River was staggering. Everything from trailer homes to hog farms to the cotton crop was destroyed. Several months later, garbage (i.e., people’s lives, pink insulation, bags of wet clothing, toys, chairs, mattresses) were piled up on the roadside waiting to be picked up.

Once I got to the coast, the scene wasn’t much better. The extremely windy conditions made me grateful that I was nowhere near the beach during the hurricane. There were boarded up windows, ripped off rooftops, and shit piled everywhere waiting to be collected. Some neighborhoods were better than others, but even the beach showed signs or wear and tear.

There’s been progress, but it’s not enough. People’s lives are still in disarray. And if you weren’t wealthy to begin with, this storm kicked your ass.

In response to the storm, I did three things: donated items, my time and money.

The animal shelters in Carteret, Pender and Onslow counties were overwhelmed by the storms. They brought their animals to the fairgrounds in Raleigh and asked for blankets, rags, food, and litterboxes. They also needed bleach and other cleaning supplies. I keep a fair amount of that stuff around the house, so we drove over a big load of animal-related products to the staging area.

I poked my head into the buildings to visit the dogs and cats, and it took my breath away. So incredibly heartwarming to see all those animals who were saved by citizens of North Carolina; so very sad to think about how breeders in North Carolina thoughtlessly cost the taxpayers all that time and money.

Then I donated my time. The more belongings you can recover, the more money you can keep from FEMA and the insurance companies to rebuild your life. That’s why I volunteered with a family in Wallace right after the storm. I stood in the sun and worked a disinfection line. We cleaned moldy but salvageable items from a home.

Finally, I donated money. My preferred charity is Safe Haven for Cats, which sheltered cats from the storm and found them forever homes. Don’t like cats? Donate to RebuildNC.

TL;DR Hurricane Florence is still a thing, and North Carolinians with two paws and four paws need your help. Give up a cup of coffee or a pack of cigarettes and donate something today. Or, better yet, go volunteer in your local community in the name of those who were affected by the hurricane.

This is the season of giving. Don’t roll over and give to big charities with splashy marketing campaigns. Find a way for your time and money to have the most significant impact by doing your research, or by following my advice, and giving to those organizations who need it most.

Tomorrow, I’ll have another set of charitable recommendations for you.