Catholic Charities, Diocese of Raleigh
& New Hanover Disaster Coalition
It’s September (already?) and aside from marking the end of tourist season, it’s also Hurricane Preparedness Month and the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Florence.
So there’s no better time to acknowledge the good collaborative work of our Partners, Catholic Charities and New Hanover Disaster Coalition.
Immediately after Hurricane Florence, Catholic Charities’ Emilie Hart and Harrelson Center’s Meade Van Pelt, met to consider how best to coordinate their disaster response. Working with area pastors and faith communities, the American Red Cross, United Way and others, they quickly dispatched an impressive team of staff and volunteers to collect, store and distribute needed supplies, coordinate with state and federal agencies, and drive efficiency into an inherently chaotic time.
Perhaps the best measure of their success is the founding of the New Hanover Disaster Coalition which, under the leadership of Audrey Hart, has allowed the sisters to work together. And, together they demonstrate daily their shared expertise and mutual determination to feed, clothe and house those who have met disaster, while reaching deep into the community to educate and prepare others for coming storms, be they hurricanes or pandemics.
Audrey and Emilie look holistically at root problems to mitigate disaster impact: making sure families in low-lying areas understand their particular vulnerability or identifying immigrant families who may not understand English and be compromised in following health directives. We applaud their continued work to make our communities and neighbors more disaster-ready. Indeed, while Wilmington will long look back at September, 2018, with thoughts of Florence, we should all look back at that time and see what a difference the Hart Sisters made.