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Brighter days ahead for storm victims in East Arcadia area

Making Christmas Brighter for Children of Storm Victims

By Erin Smith

A group of dedicated volunteers is hoping they can make Christmas a little brighter this year, for children whose families have been victims of Hurricane Florence’s flood waters.

Debra Douglas said Camp Clearwater conducts a motorcycle ride each year in September, to raise money to put back into the community in various ways. With all the devastation brought on by Hurricane Florence, the organizers of the event wanted to do their part to help those in need. Douglas said the organizers of the event discussed it  and decided they wanted to help some children impacted by the flooding.

This year, 30 students from East Arcadia School will be selected by the Principal to receive a precious gift.

“We sent a letter to the East Arcadia Principal, and she will send us a list of the kids she feels are the most in need,” said Douglas.

She said the students will receive school uniforms, coats, hats, gloves, jeans, shoes, socks, toys, and whatever items the family may need.

“The school has received a lot of help from throughout the community,” said East Arcadia Interim Principal Victoria Clark.

She said such a generous gift makes a tremendous impact on the students.

“It gives them a little hope to know that people care,” said Clark.

She added there has been a lot of support shown to the school and its students since the storm, and it has been greatly appreciated.

Douglas said Camp Clearwater Chapel has been conducting the motorcycle ride for 12 years, to raise funds to buy toys for children who need them at Christmas. She said the ride, which is held on the second Saturday of each September, includes a meal and an auction. The proceeds from the auction and ride are used to support the community.

“Normally, we go through Social Services,” said Douglas. She said last year they assisted 10 students from East Arcadia School, 10 students from Booker T. Washington School, and 10 students from Tar Heel Middle School.

This year, with all the flooding from Hurricane Florence, they felt it was important to reach out to their neighbors in the Kelly area. Douglas said many of the children in Kelly attend school at East Arcadia School.

“The Kelly area is close to Camp Clearwater. We decided to do the Kelly area because they were hit so hard,” said Douglas.

 East Arcadia Town Commissioner, Lillian Graham, said, “That is great. Anything that helps the children really helps the whole community.”

She added, “I am really, really excited they chose us.”

Graham said many organizations have reached out to East Arcadia offering everything from cleaning supplies to food.

Douglas said monetary donations will still be accepted. If you would like to make a financial contribution, checks can be made to Camp Clearwater Chapel, note on the memo line “Donation for Kids Christmas,” and mail to 45 Holland Avenue, White Lake, NC 28337.

For questions on how you can help, Douglas can be reached at 910-824-1339 or Shelby Lee at 910-308-7212.

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