Food & Drink

Florence relief: What can you do now to help? 1 immediate step: Grab that hurricane food...

Donations of canned goods and other perishable food, including unopened bottled water, will be needed for hard-hit areas of Eastern North Carolina after Hurricane Florence.
Donations of canned goods and other perishable food, including unopened bottled water, will be needed for hard-hit areas of Eastern North Carolina after Hurricane Florence. Observer file photo

Florence may have blown over here in Charlotte, but in Eastern N.C., it’s a different story. Hurricane evacuees are still in shelters, many areas are flooded and Wilmington is inaccessible.

What can you do to help?

While some nonprofit organizations elected to stay closed Monday when forecasts expected the rains to linger, some plans are shaping up for getting donated money and supplies where it will be needed. Check back here and we’ll add more information as it becomes available. If you have information to share, email

Food and money

Loaves & Fishes: The nonprofit that operates 33 emergency pantries around the Charlotte area will remain closed Monday. But when it reopens Tuesday, it will need supplies. If you stocked up on unopened nonperishable food and bottled water you didn’t use, they will welcome it, says Sue Bruce, the communications director. The warehouse is usually low this time of year because families need help over the summer when children are out of school and holiday donations haven’t come in.

They’re not just collecting for people in Mecklenburg County, Bruce said. Everything not needed here gets shared with pantries in areas hit hard in other parts of the state.

“In previous (storms), we’ve gotten inundated with bottled water that we sent to affected areas down east. And we will definitely do so again. We work with the Red Cross and other agencies, like the Humane Society. When we have overages of donations, they can come to us and get what they need.”

Particularly needed: Bottled water, nonperishable food (canned food, cereals, pastas, nut butters and shelf-stable milk), disposable diapers and cash or checks they can use to buy perishable food. Take donations to an open pantry near you (here’s a list) or to the warehouse, 648 Griffith Road (near Costco on Tyvola Road), which will be open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on weekdays after Monday. Don’t leave anything unless there is someone working to receive it.

Jose Andres
José Andrés, shown in a 2016 file photo, has brought his World Central Kitchen relief group to North Carolina to cook meals for displaced residents of Hurricane Florence. Sarah L. Voisin The Washington Post

World Central Kitchen in Wilmington: The nonprofit formed by Washington-based chef Jose Andres, who led efforts to feed people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, has joined with Wilmington chef Keith Rhodes to feed people who’ve been cut off by flood waters. Andres and his volunteers are using Rhodes’ Catch food truck to get hot meals to people in New Hanover, Columbus, Brunswick and Pender counties.

Order Fire and Piedmont Culinary Guild: Members of the culinary video web series and the grassroots organization of chefs, food producers and farmers, are getting organized to collect food for World Central Kitchen and deliver it to Wilmington later in the week. The effort is still in the early stages, awaiting access to Wilmington. In the meantime, you can donate money to help through Facebook (Chefs for Carolinas) or through the WCK website.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina: Donna Ragan, the marketing and communications manager, says the best thing you can do right now is donate money. They shipped 50,000 pounds of food and water before the storm and have another 50,000-pound shipment ready to go as soon as they get the word that trucks can get through to the coast.

If you want to donate food, you can check here on the website:

Operation North State: Several Simon-owned malls around Charlotte are setting up drop-off locations for donated goods, including water, canned food, pet foods, blankets, towels, clothing, cleaning supplies, paper products, disposable diapers and toiletries. Items must be new and will be distributed in Eastern N.C. counties. Dropoff locations and dates: Simon Guest Services at SouthPark, 4400 Sharon Road, and at Charlotte Premium Outlets, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 18-Sept. 24, and in the parking lot outside Bass Pro Shops at Concord Mills, 8111 Concord Mills Blvd., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 17-Sept. 24. (Concord Mills is the best site for large deliveries and cash donations.)

Other nonprofits that can use donations to help:

American Red Cross

To give blood: Make an appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-733-2767.

To donate money: Visit, call 1-800-733-2767 or text the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Diaper Bank of North Carolina

The N.C. nonprofit Diaper Bank of North Carolina is aiming to supply diapers, feminine hygiene products and adult incontinence supplies to Florence victims. Donors can give money at or diapers, wipes and sanitary pads at the bank’s headquarters, 1311 East Club Blvd., Durham, NC, 27704. If you want to help create disaster relief kits, the bank urges volunteers to email

Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina

Serving some of Florence’s hardest hit areas, including New Bern and Wilmington, the food bank is asking for funds and food donations. The food bank’s website has a page to donate funds. To donate food, visit one of the distribution centers in Durham, Raleigh, New Bern, Greenville, the Sandhills/Southern Pines or Wilmington. There is also an online food bank.

The food bank is requesting high-protein canned foods, like meat, fish, beans and soup; paper goods like paper towels, cups, plates and napkins, diapers, personal hygiene products like soap, toothpaste and sanitizer; nonperishable ready-to-eat single-serving meals, snacks and peanut butter; and cleaning supplies.

Global Giving — Disaster Recovery Network

The Disaster Recovery Network at Global Giving has set a $5 million goal for Florence relief efforts. “If necessary, this fund will also support longer-term recovery assistance to help residents recover and rebuild,” the website says.

Habitat for Humanity

Best-known for building low-cost housing, Habitat for Humanity runs a national disaster risk, reduction and response program. The program provides shelter, education and supports rebuilding efforts.

Lutheran Disaster Response

The organization provides support for those impacted by natural disasters, including hurricanes.

Mennonite Disaster Service

The nonprofit volunteer network of Anabaptist churches helps repair homes after disasters. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the path of Hurricane Florence,” its website says. MDS said the average cost to support a volunteer with dorm-style lodging, meals, tools and equipment is $40 a day. You can mail a check to: MDS, 583 Airport Road, Lititz, PA 17543, or give by phone by calling call 1-800-241-8111.

North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund

The state’s main recovery fund is the NC DIsaster Relief Fund. The governor’s office contributions go to any unmet needs of Hurricane Florence victims. It is accepting online donations on its website or mailed to North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund, 20312 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699.

Samaritan’s Purse

Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian organization that responds to natural disasters, says organizers are “preparing to help affected homeowners by cutting downed trees, tarping roofs, and working on mud-outs.” Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, is president and CEO of the organization.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina

The food bank supplies food and groceries across 19 counties in North and South Carolina.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army sent feeding crews and volunteers to the Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Florence, with each unit able to serve up to 1,500 meals a day, according to the nonprofit. To give, visit!/donation/checkout or mail a check to The Salvation Army-Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301. Include the name of the disaster relief effort on the check. To donate by phone, call 1-800-725-2769.

United Way Hurricane Florence Recovery Fund

“United Way’s 2-1-1 is a free hotline that provides information to individuals seeking community resources like shelter, food and water, recovery support, and other basic needs, before, during and after disasters,” according to its website. Call 2-1-1 or visit To give to support its Florence recovery efforts, visit

World Hope International

The Christian organization “is already managing two staging areas in North Carolina for relief coordination, donation collections and distribution,” according to a spokesperson.

World Vision

Christian organization World Vision is working with churches to “provide urgent relief including food, clean water, personal hygiene items, temporary shelter items, flood cleanup kits,” according to its website.

Kathleen Purvis; 704-358-5236; Cassie Cope contributed to this story.