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Disaster aid offered

LEWISTON-WOODVILLE – Those who have suffered property damage due to Sunday’s tornadoes in Bertie County are receiving help.

During his press conference here Tuesday, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley talked about the assistance that was available to anyone who needed it.

According to the governor, a center has been set up at Mt. Olive Baptist Church just outside of Lewiston Woodville on N.C. 305. The American Red Cross has set up at the church to provide shelter to anyone who has been displaced.

“So far no one has needed it because they have been staying with families or neighbors,” he said. “It is there should they need a temporary place to stay.”

The governor said assistance was also being provided by the North Carolina Baptist Men, who were on hand working in the area.

“The Baptist men are out there cutting limbs off houses now,” Easley said. “I’m proud of what the Baptist Men and Red Cross do.”

Also available at the church will be assistance from the state and national levels. Those who have had their homes damaged or destroyed can apply for individual assistance from the state.

“These people have paid taxes all their lives,” he said. “Those tax dollars are there for them now.”

The state will offer up to $28,000 in individual assistance, he said.

There may also be low-interest loans available from the federal government to aid those who suffered loss, the governor indicated.

“We’re here to do our part,” Easley said. “They’ve done their part all these years.”

Mt. Olive Baptist Church is being used as the command post because of their desire to be involved in the cleanup efforts.

The Rev. Travis Judkins, pastor of Mt. Olive, said he and the church felt a strong desire to help the community.

“Mt. Olive has been the center of religious life in this community for 145 years,” he said. “During this great tragedy, we wanted to give our services spiritually and economically to show people our caring and sharing.

“One person’s problem is the town’s problem, the county’s problem and a church problem,” he stressed. “We want to do what we can to aid people at this time.”

Rev. Judkins said those who need any of the services currently being offered at the church can come by or call the church at 348-2466.