Just a month after Hurricane Sandy forced them to move, the Beach Food Pantry in the Outer Banks is once again looking for a new home.
Their former location in Kitty Hawk was flooded during Hurricane Sandy when ocean water came pouring in – hitting the non-profit hard.
“We do not have any freezers. We lost four freezers and a refrigerator down there. We don’t have any fresh meat or anything like we used to have,” explained Vice-President Marilyn Canning.
The group rallied and with the help of a score of volunteers packed up what was salvageable and moved to a storefront at the Marketplace in Southern Shores rent-free for two months.
Now the landlord has told the group that they must be out of the location by the end of the year.
“We are here until the end of December, but then we have to find someplace else on the beach,” explained Canning.
The unwelcome news comes during what is traditionally the busiest time of the year for the Beach Food Pantry.
“We are a seasonal area. Right now we are coming into our difficult time where people are in need,” explained Secretary Sharon Krafft.
The group could return to their former location in Kitty Hawk, but they are worried another storm would bring more flooding.
Flooding like what happened during Hurricane Sandy would render them inoperable; preventing them from fulfilling a core mission:
“To be able to continue with our service to the community during a disaster,” Canning stated.
The Beach Food Pantry is hoping to find a location that is relatively high and accessible while still being affordable.
“We only have donations. That’s how we survive. So we need to be very careful about where we spend our money,” Canning explained. “If we spend money on rent, then we don’t have as much money to spend on food.”
The group is appealing to the Outer Banks business community to help them find a new location with a charitable rate for rent.
They are also seeking community sponsors to help offset their costs.
While the search for a new location adds a degree of uncertainty during an already busy time, the Beach Food Pantry is confident the community will step up and help out.
That’s what happened in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, when donations of food and services poured in from the community to replace what was lost.
“We actually had a cleaning service come the day that we moved and they said we’d like to help, what can we do,” Krafft said.
You can Take Action and help the Beach Food Pantry through their website here.