Outer Banks Community Foundation awards $70,000 in disaster relief funds

The Beach Food Pantry is delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to Ocracoke each week. [Photo courtesy Outer Banks Community Foundation]

The Outer Banks Community Foundation has awarded over $70,000 in Rapid Response Grants to nonprofits leading disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, and to nonprofits that were devastated by the storm.

The Community Foundation has been busily raising money to help families and individuals from Ocracoke and Dare County recover from the storm. However, the funding for the Rapid Response Grants is from the Community Foundation’s own endowment, and is in addition to — and separate from — the new money raised for Ocracoke and Hatteras residents.

“Our primary focus has been raising funds to assist residents that were incapacitated by Dorian,” said Lorelei Costa, Executive Director of the Community Foundation, “but with the Rapid Response Grants, we are also recognizing that many of our local nonprofits were just as hard hit.”

“As soon as the storm winds died, nonprofits and volunteers were on the ground, in the receding waters, assisting storm victims—feeding people, mucking houses, clearing debris, providing supplies,” Costa said. “Some of our nonprofits did this with no funding, or they depleted their hard-won reserves, in order to provide emergency services to their neighbors.”

Among the recipients of the Rapid Response Grants were Hatteras Island Community Emergency Response Team, Ocracoke Fire Prevention Association, Interfaith Community Outreach, and Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men. All four nonprofits received grants for supplies, equipment, and tools to aid in their disaster recovery efforts.

The Beach Food Pantry, which has been supplying fresh fruits and vegetables to Ocracoke, received support, along with Hatteras Island Meals, the Food Bank of the Albemarle, and the Elizabeth City Corps of the Salvation Army, which has been providing hot meals to storm victims and first responders.

Other local nonprofits lost key infrastructure to the storm, or sustained overwhelming damage to their facilities. In Ocracoke, the community fish house, owned and operated by the nonprofit Ocracoke Working Watermen’s Association, was flooded and its ice house and retail space destroyed. OWWA received an $8,000 Rapid Response Grant to repair its ice house in time for the fall southern flounder fishery, which is economically important to local fishermen.

“The Ocracoke Food Pantry, the Ocracoke Community Park, Deepwater Theater, the Ocracoke Library—all operated by nonprofits, all sustained debilitating storm damage,” said Ms. Costa. “These organizations all received Rapid Response Grants to repair facilities and/or replace damaged equipment.”

Even on Roanoke Island, the Elizabethan Gardens lost a greenhouse, fencing, electrical systems, and numerous trees and plantings. An anonymous donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation will be assisting the Gardens with their rebuild.

The Rapid Response Grants were supported by the Community Foundation’s largest and broadest grant-making pool, the Community Fund, as well as numerous donor-advised and designated funds at the Community Foundation, including the Cathi Ostrander Family Fund, the Charles H. & Dorothy S. Luedemann Arts Fund, the Hatteras Fund, the Kelly Family Fund, the Preston Family Fund, the Shirley & David Doran Memorial Fund, the Simpson Sharp Oakes Fund, and the Spencer Family Fund.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation continues to collect financial contributions to assist individuals and families in Dare County and Ocracoke who have been devastated by Hurricane Dorian. All contributions are tax-deductible, and every penny of every gift will be used to directly assist local individuals and families. Donations can be made securely online at www.obxdisaster.org.

PHOTO CAPTION: The Outer Banks Community Foundation has awarded over $70,000 in Rapid Response Grants to nonprofits that are leading disaster relief efforts in the face of Hurricane Dorian, including the Beach Food Pantry (picture above), which is delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to Ocracoke each week. Fourteen nonprofits received assistance, including first responder and disaster relief groups, and nonprofits that sustained overwhelming damage to their facilities, such as the Ocracoke Community Park and the Ocracoke Working Watermen’s Association. Learn more and donate to disaster relief at www.obcf.org.