Surprise donation lifts spirits in town hit by hurricane

Just as hurricane season was beginning to wind down and folks along the coast thought they were in the clear, along came Hurricane Matthew. Spending only a few days out at sea, Matthew made landfall last October and swept up the East Coast, bringing with it damaging winds up to 75 mph and intense rain that caused major flooding.

It’s been months since Matthew cleared out, and several communities are still recovering. Schools, businesses and community centers in Lumberton, North Carolina, experienced the brunt of the record flooding and severe damage inflicted by Matthew.

Immediately after the hurricane, Lowe’s helped Lumberton residents by partnering with vendors to distribute 6,000 free hot meals, 5,200 boxed lunches and 50,000 bottles of water. Families also were invited to the Lowe’s store in Lumberton to do laundry at portable wash stations and charge their devices at a mobile charging station.

“At that time, Lowe’s was more than just a store, more than just walls. We were the center of a community and wanted to make sure we were the heart to keep it that way,” store manager Chad Maddox said.

Lumberton is still in need of help and today Maddox joined members of the Lumberton community on “Good Morning America” to announce a surprise donation of $50,000 to help rebuild the Parkview Activity Center. The Parkview Activity Center serves as a hub to the Lumberton community and when Matthew hit, the only thing salvageable at the center was the floors.

The local elementary school sustained severe damage, leaving students without a place to go. The elementary and middle school principals decided to combine their schools and create a safe place for children. Two guidance counselors also worked diligently to make sure students had items needed to succeed in school.

During the “Good Morning America” segment, students formed a heart around the four educators, expressing appreciation for their work in helping the community recover.