“I was looking for a mission,” said The Church of the Rock minister Reid Lamport. “That’s when I found out about Askewville and God was leading us down there. Askewville is in the poorest county in North Carolina.”
The small community is rural and is centered in Bertie County, which has a population of 21,000. A devastating tornado touched down at dusk on April 18 in the community of Askewville and in less than 15 minutes left 11 dead and more than 65 structures destroyed. The community had already been devastated by flooding from tropical storm Nicole less than a year prior to the tornado outbreak.
At the end of August, Bertie County again faced damage from Hurricane Irene. According to Lamport, many residents of Askewville did not have insurance to cover their losses.
“I talked to the city manager who put us in touch with the local Baptist minister David Crumpler,” Lamport said. “We worked through him to pull off the book bag drive.”
He said the bookbags were collected at the church in Poland and were stuffed with the supplies the children of Askewville needed to start school. The church delivered 50 elementary bags and 50 middle school bags, which were driven to Askewville by church member Sharon Henry.
The bookbags were just the beginning. In October (12 through 15), the church has put together a team of 25 who will be making the trip to Askewville to help residents get their homes back to livable conditions.
“We will assist in finishing work like drywall and painting,” Lamport said. “We will also assist in debris removal.”
One of the church’s plans calls for a special dinner. Lamport said a caterer has been contacted and a barbecue is being planned for the victims and volunteers.
“We want to let them know they are important,” he said.
Presently, The Church of the Rock is accepting donations of cleaning supplies, small household appliances, linens, towels and new bedding items. Donated items can be dropped off at the church from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9. Donation receipts will be issued for proper acknowledgment of tax deductible contributions.
Lamport added that one of the 25 volunteers is a hairdresser who will be giving free hair cuts for the children.
For information on the mission trip or to donate to the cause, contact the church at 330-757-8863 or 330-518-0006.
Photo special to the Town Crier
Sharon Henry and Sherry Morrow from The Church of the Rock in Poland load 100 bookbags full of school supplies for the ravaged rural town of Askewville, N.C.