Two weeks ago, Hurricane Florence put a corridor of more than 10 million people in the cross hairs; Carol Lee Holmes was one of them.
As her North Carolina governor declared a state of emergency and we prayed for her safety, Florence blew ashore and pushed its rainy way westward bringing catastrophic inland flooding to Carol, knocked out electricity and inundated the roads she travels daily as a Carrier for the Robesonian News. In 2016, the Robesonian building got flooded during hurricane Matthew; now it is flooded again. Carol rode out the storm with her beloved dogs, and without benefit of the comforting presence of her dear son Joseph, who has a temporary internship overseas.
When the storm finally passed, she said "It is good to see some sunshine. I have no power and it will probably get hot. I have no money to go anywhere and there is no telling when the Robesonian will be up and running again. They haven't been paying me enough to cover my bills, and I am trying to think up a plan. I am hearing chainsaws. My friend Rita doesn't have a car. She just called wanting to drive around looking for food giveaways. I know last year DSS was distributing emergency food stamps. I will be sure to step in line when that happens."
Carol was able to charge her phone and eat breakfast at her friend Wallace's generator-powered Trader's Station. The internet was down, and residents were advised to hunker down as no rescue services were being allowed in, no one allowed out - because the river hadn't crested yet. Interstate 95 was closed, along with 356 primary roads.
Days later, Carol picked up Rita and headed to Hyde Park Baptist Church for a lunch plate. By the 23rd, Carol was loading her little yellow Nissan with papers again for her familiar routes, seeing a lot of "strange things" along her way. She worried about others in her predicament.
"House after house in South Lumberton where I deliver have piles like this in front of their houses."
"The public schools here are still closed."
"Only Lumberton routes are running, so a lot of carriers are sitting at home." Carol's industry and her keen head for business have enabled her to raise her son single handedly, putting him through school and employing others with the several routes she built up. Her loyal customers see her Screaming Yellow Zonker Nissan car on the job, and know that all's well with the world.
"I got the car at a discount, because no one would buy that color; it's great for visibility" she said, as her routes are delivered during the dark and early wee hours.
In Massachusetts a law was passed requiring newspapers to consider delivery drivers as employees, making them eligible for unemployment benefits - which they had previously been denied as sub-contractors. No such relief exists for North Carolina carriers.
In light of Carol's plight and in honor of her Birthday tomorrow, we hereby enact the
"Keep Carol Afloat in the Flood Zone" GoFundMe page!
Please help to disseminate this S.O.S. widely among friends, family, and perfect strangers who are not yet friends. Thank you.
- Deborah Bogoff
- Theresa Weismandel Sellers
- Joseph D'Agostino
- Joanne Kostides
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