All Hands and Hearts Smart Response is a non-profit organization that has been working on hurricane relief efforts in North Carolina for the last 6 months.
“All Hands and Hearts has been on the ground pretty much since the storm cleared, and we have been working since that point nonstop,” Tun Arnold, a volunteer, said.
All Hands and Hearts was created after a tsunami hit Indonesia in 2004. Since then, volunteers from all over have helped rebuild communities that have suffered from natural disasters across the globe, including here in North Carolina.
Volunteers are working on a home in Bayboro.
“The owner of the house is 90 years old. She wants to get back into her house. We’re going to make that happen,” Michael Rosenberg, a volunteer, said.
The homeowner’s daughter, Bertha Smith said her mother is excited to have the volunteers here to help.
“They stopped by the house to introduce themselves, and they go in to speak to mother. She gives them lots of hugs and kisses, and she sang songs to them. She does not want them to leave,” Smith said.
Smith said her mother’s home had a foot of water from Hurricane Florence. The home has since then been gutted, cleaned, and sanitized by All Hands and Hearts.
“We’re doing insulation right now,“ Arnold said. “We’re doing some sub floor repairs, and then we’re going to put up dry wall and install a kitchen which includes the counter top and the base cabinets.“
Although the work is not done yet and won’t be for another three weeks, Mrs. Smith made a warm home cooked meal for the volunteers to show her gratitude.
“I’m just grateful for people that come from far and near to come out and volunteer their services like this and me doing what I did this morning- I would cook for them everyday if I could, I’m just grateful”
In the last six months, All Hands and Hearts has volunteered on over 200 homes in the area. Right now, the organization is in search of volunteers to continue the recovery process.
Estebaan Avila, a volunteer, said after a storm people may assume the recovery process is over which is not the case here in eastern North Carolina.
“Even in Texas from Hurricane Harvey we still have homes we are working on,” Avila said. “And this project in particular when you don’t hear about it, not only do we lose funding, but we also lose volunteer interest, so we definitely need people to come here in particular.”
Those interested in volunteering can apply online at allhandsandhearts.org to register.