Disaster Relief: Your Gifts at Work


“Everything we owned was covered in black mold. If it wasn’t for all the support and donations, I don’t know what we would have done…”

Sheyenne is a 25-year-old mother of three. A full-time resident of Hatteras Island, Sheyenne was living in Buxton with her fiancé; her five-year-old son, who is on the autism spectrum; her twelve-year-old brother, whom she recently adopted; and her youngest little boy, who is age two. Then the hurricane struck.

After two nights in a motel, Sheyenne and her fiancé waded through stormwater, with children on their backs, to get back home so they could assess damage and salvage what they could.

Sheyenne described her family’s devastation when they found their home torn apart in the storm. “When we returned, one entire wall gaped open, and everything was soaked. Our front porch had detached, and some support blocks under our mobile home had collapsed.”

“We stayed at our parents’ home that night. When we went back the next day, everything we owned was covered in black mold. If it wasn’t for all the support and donations, I don’t know what we would have done.”

Today, thanks to your giving, Sheyenne and her family are starting to recover. “We’re slowly getting back on our feet, but when we drive by the road to our old home, my five-year-old still gets upset because he doesn’t understand why we can’t go home.”

Your gifts have made a difference to Sheyenne and her family, and to hundreds of others across Dare County and Ocracoke.

The numbers grow each week as more donations are disbursed, but as of 4pm on December 11, 2019, we can report that more than $900,000 had been pledged and/or paid to Dorian disaster victims from the Outer Banks Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund. As recovery efforts continue, more financial assistance is to come.

More than half a million dollars has been dedicated to housing for Ocracoke storm victims. This includes $200,000 for temporary housing trailers purchased by Hyde County for at least 35 families as their homes are repaired. Our funds will subsidize utility hook-ups, like septic, water, gas, and power. Another $300,000 has been pledged for materials and supplies for home repair and rebuilding projects in Ocracoke, benefiting at least 60 families, in partnership with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

In addition, our partners with the Ocracoke Recovery Fund Committee and Interfaith Community Outreach continue to give monetary assistance to storm victims each week to help them pay bills. Almost $275,000 has been awarded to over 100 families for appliances, furniture, vehicle replacement, utilities, help with rent, wheelchair ramps, medications, medical equipment, and much more.

In Dare County, your donations have already helped 60 families rebuild and recover; additionally, another $95,000 has been pledged to help 25 more families on Hatteras Island for long-term home rebuilds and repairs. Additional funds will be used for long-term resiliency in our most vulnerable communities.

If you or your family suffered hardship or damage from Hurricane Dorian, and you’re a full-time resident of Ocracoke or Dare County, you can still request assistance from the Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund. Full-time Ocracoke residents are invited to contact the Ocracoke Recovery Fund Committee by emailing ocracokerecoveryfund@gmail.com. Full-time residents of Dare County can contact Interfaith Community Outreach through 252-480-0070, or Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men at 252-305-4925.

Thousands of generous donors from across the country contributed to the Disaster Relief Fund in the days and weeks following Dorian. The Outer Banks Community Foundation continues to collect financial contributions to assist individuals and families in Dare County and Ocracoke who were devastated by Hurricane Dorian. All contributions to the Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund are tax-deductible, and every penny of every gift will directly assist local individuals and families; neither the Community Foundation, nor any of our nonprofit partners, are using disaster relief donations for fees, salaries, or administrative or operating expenses. Donations can be made securely online at www.obxdisaster.org.

Families like Sheyenne’s are slowly rebuilding, and thanks to you, can look forward to the holiday season. “Our kids will be very fortunate, because people have given so much, just so we can have Christmas.”