At a Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM) meeting in September 2018, Bishop Ward challenged the youth in the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church to raise $500,000 for hurricane relief. The North Carolina Conference would then match those donations in the Youth Storm Fund up to $500,000. Over the past year, the youth worked to help others in need.
As part of the Youth Storm Fund effort, NCC Pilgrimage 2019 hosted a luncheon titled “Eat for Relief” that would help raise money for hurricane relief. Haymount UMC’s United Methodist Men and Hopkins Barbeque prepared hamburgers and hotdogs for the luncheon. Bishop Ward and members of the Cabinet served lunch for over 600 people.
Following lunch, Hannah McMillan, Pilgrimage Missions Team lead, welcomed and thanked the attendees for participating. Kallie Gregg, a youth from Kitty Hawk UMC, spoke about her efforts to help those in her community affected by Hurricane Florence.
Jay Locklear introduced the Disaster Ministries program and impact the program has made across Eastern North Carolina. Disaster Ministries currently has 9 centers and 6 satellite housing centers. With the help of volunteers and donors, Disaster Ministries has been able to return families home; however, there is still a great need for volunteers to help hundreds of survivors still on the waitlist.
The luncheon raised $6,979 for hurricane relief, with all proceeds going towards the Youth Storm Fund. Saturday night at Pilgrimage it was announced that the youth had surpassed Bishop Ward’s challenge last year! A total of $567,361 has been raised for hurricane relief through the Youth Storm Fund over the past year.
Disaster Ministries is extremely grateful for the North Carolina Conference, youth and their churches, and donors who have supported the Youth Storm Fund and our hurricane relief program. Thank you to everyone who attended and planned Eat for Relief! Your gifts will help many families return home.