Hurricane Matthew Aftermath
"The spirit of our incredible community is shining through the devastation created by Hurricane Matthew." Betsy Doughtie , Executive Director
HURRICANE Recovery UPDATE
Immediately following the storm, Deep Well provided basicnecessities for people forced to evacuate. Most people were out of work for at least a week. After validating that clients requesting help had no income during this time, Deep Well assisted with rent payments, utility bills, motel reimbursement, daycare and prescription medicines. A total of $86,490 was paid out to help neighbors get back on their feet during this emergency triage period.
Many disaster relief groups arrived on the island to remove trees from homes, tarp roofs, cut up the fallen trees, and remove debris - a tremendous help in the 60-day window following Matthew's impact. (See The Island Packet article below.) Then it was Deep Well's turn to help again. In January Deep Well began to help with permanent home repairs, providing funding and volunteer resources on job sites. As of mid-July, Deep Well has invested $55,398 on hurricane related repairs, with the bulk of that associated with new roofs. So far, 14 families' homes have been restored to pre-Matthew condition.
It's not always about the money. About three months after the hurricane, a staff member was on her way to visit a client who needed help. She passed a mobile home and noticed that a very large tree had fallen through the roof and something told her to stop and check on the family. Much to her surprise, the homeowner was still living there. The homeowner explained that she was afraid to report the damage to FEMA or anyone else, because she feared she would be forced to leave her home and she had no other place to live. Deep Well immediately put this home on the project list for a new roof, and in April it was completed. A hand up not a hand out, as per our mission statement.
Working together towards recovery
Our Deep Well Project has interacted with agencies, organizations, and individuals to help our fellow islanders in this emergency. On behalf of those we serve, great thanks go out to all who are supporting Deep Well, some are listed below:
- The Town of Hilton Head, along with all the first responders, who cleared the roads in record time and made sure that power, water, and sewer were functioning.
- Church groups who were instrumental in clearing property of debris, including removing trees from homes and tarping roofs to prevent further damage.
- The local Red Cross set up emergency shelters, and when they closed down, our churches opened their doors.
- Our home grown Islander Byron Sewell captured the spirit of Hilton Head with his “Welcome Home” sign, then partnered with the Salty Dog to produce T-shirts. The shirt proceeds have gone to Deep Well to be used for hurricane recovery.
- Hilton Head Island High School waived the admittance fee to a home football game, and instead asked for food donations for Deep Well. Our big truck was totally filled with food, not only from the high school but from Hilton Head Elementary School as well.
- The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, Hilton Head Rotary Club, and United Way of the Lowcountry all made substantial financial contributions to Deep Well designated for hurricane recovery. Our Livable Housing volunteers will continue to use these funds for months to restore damaged structures back into livable homes.
- The Belfair 1811 Charitable Fund awarded a special grant to Deep Well to be used in hurricane recovery in the greater Bluffton community.
- The SERG Group chose Deep Well as the beneficiary of an event on October 28th, with donations being matched by The SERG Group and Tito Vodka.
- Hundreds of private individuals have made monetary contributions so Deep Well can help our neighbors return to a stable life.
(The above appeared in The Island Packet, November 12, 2016)