Clayton mega-church converted into hospital as Florence hit NC

North Carolina
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In a matter of hours, as Hurricane Florence hit, C3 Church in Clayton went from a local mega-church to a makeshift hospital.

“Ambulances were coming and dropping off,” said C3 Senior Pastor Matt Fry. “It was quite a scene. At first, you’re a little bit in shock.”

Fry says the church has provided shelter and supplies to hurricane victims in the past, but this was a first.

“Nobody looks at this like an inconvenience. Everybody is like, that’s why we’re here,” Fry said.

Right before Hurricane Florence hit, members of the U.S. Public Health Service’s Commissioned Corps deployed to North Carolina and set up the medical shelter at the church.

The USPHS is working with the state and church volunteers to run the shelter.

“Everybody, no matter what their role is, will help a patient,” said Hollie Benson, acting deputy team commander with the USPHS. “Do you need some water? Let me sing to you. They will paint nails and cut toenails or braid hair and this is totally different than what their job is as a nurse or pharmacist or dentist is and so seeing the patients light up and doing what we can to help them while they’re here is really the best thing.”

Some patients have gone home, but others are still at the shelter–  and more patients arrived Friday.

“They might have been fine through the hurricane, but now they’ve been without medication or without electricity for a while, so we still have patients coming from other areas,” said Benson.

Outside the makeshift hospital, the church is collecting supplies, everything from water to canned food, batteries, and diapers. The church group is delivering the supplies to people all over the state affected by Florence.

“Our church is not here just to have Sunday services, but to make a difference in our community and to serve our community,” Fry said.

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