NC recovery continues

BY HEATHER MOYER | Rocky Mount, NC | August 4, 2000


That's been very helpful to us," said the Rev. Richard Joyner of the Clark Street Project in Rocky Mount.

The Clark Street Project is a community development organization that works with the faith community in

Rocky Mount as well as city officials to make the city healthier economically and socially. Clark Street also

runs after-school programs including mentoring and tutoring for the area's children. When the hurricane

hit, the agency shifted some of its focus to help with the cleanup. "We have a ton of homes we're still

rebuilding," said Joyner.

Similar to many other areas in North Carolina that are still cleaning up Hurricane Floyd's destruction, the

Rocky Mount area is mainly in the reconstruction phase as well.

The Twin County Interfaith Recovery (TRIR) is also coordinating many volunteer groups coming in town

to help. Right now they have a volunteer crew from the Church of the Brethren in town until

Thanksgiving. After Labor Day, a volunteer group from the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee

(CRWRC) will be in town. TCIR has also had various groups coming in from around the US for a week or

two at a time. "It's been tremendous," said TCIR Executive Director C. Michael Shaw, "(These volunteers)

help us save our clients money, too, since we're giving them the labor. There's been a lot of generous

people helping out."

That comment isn't just for the volunteers either. Shaw said they've been receiving all kinds of donated

goods, which they've been storing in their huge 20,000 square foot warehouse. A Catholic church just

donated $200,000 in furniture, a local hotel donated about 30 sofas and loveseats, the Hanes corporation

donated new clothes, Florsheim donated shoes, and many builders have been donating all kinds of needed

building supplies.

Shaw says they currently have 490 clients in their database, answer about 40 new calls each day, and

interview an average of 20 new people each day.

Joyner, who also works with TCIR, said the Clark Street Project has also helped over 500 volunteers come

into town to assist in cleanup.

He added that Clark Street is also the group that helped bring 'Camp Noah,' a camp designed by Lutheran

Disaster Response to help children who survived disasters, into town. Clark Street ran camps for the local

kids throughout this summer, something they think has helped build trust between their organization and

the community. "The kids have so many issues going on," said Joyner, "This isn't a job, it's a ministry."

Joyner and his only other paid employee at the project, Vashti Joyner (no relation), said the community

has responded very well to their presence so far. They have over 40 volunteers from the community who

help out with everything from the summer camps to rebuilding homes.

"There's a lot of good people in the community," said Vashti. Joyner agreed, "They feed us, they care about

us, they volunteer, they care that (we) care about them." The Clark Street Project is now working on

renovating the old school building on their property into housing for homeless families.

Joyner and Shaw agreed that if people want to come down to volunteer, they must be very flexible. "We're

looking for (people) to come in and do whatever they have to do, which could include setting everything

up as well working on it," said Joyner. He said this helps them not add too many other tasks in their

already very busy schedule.

All three's love for their jobs was evident in the way they spoke of them. "It's been enlightening to do it

all," said Shaw, "We're making a small dent, but it's a dent."


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