On June 26, 2013 around 1:30am, a fire broke out in Kinston Towers apartments, an 11-story section 8 housing complex in Kinston, NC, home to many elderly and disabled people. Nearly 150 residents were evacuated and brought to the Fairfield Recreation Center where the American Red Cross had opened an emergency shelter, in coordination with Lenoir County Emergency Management, Kinston Housing Authority, and Kinston Parks and Recreation.
At the shelter Red Cross volunteers provided residents with comfort kits containing hygiene items, blankets, and clothing for those that needed it. Residents were also served breakfast and lunch. Red Cross caseworkers went around to each of the clients to listen to their concerns and help determine their individual needs.
Later that day residents were relocated to area hotels where they waited to return home. It wasn’t known until later on that it would be 23 days before the building was habitable again. While at the hotels, the American Red Cross delivered daily lunch and dinner to residents thanks to the help of partner organizations including the Salvation Army and the Southern Baptist Men.
Red Cross caseworkers continued to meet with clients throughout their stay making sure their needs were taken care of. Volunteers also provided laundry supplies and services, and ensured that there was access to transportation.
Additionally, Red Cross volunteers and members of Burning Bush ministries helped coordinate Sunday sermons for residents. In collaboration with the Bridge Church of Goldsboro, the Red Cross also served a special Fourth of July meal for those displaced by the fire.
On July 18, residents were transported from local hotels back to Kinston Towers when the building was deemed safe for re-entry. Throughout the day, Red Cross workers helped residents move their belongings back into their apartments and supported those that needed additional assistance. Volunteers provided lunch and dinner at Kinston Towers and handed out snacks and supplies as everyone returned.
During the Kinston Towers response, the Red Cross and partners have:
• Served 9,543 meals and snacks
• Distributed 508 items including blankets, comfort kits with hygiene items, & laundry supplies.
• Facilitated 146 client outreach contacts & family welfare information requests.
• Made 223 contacts for health services.
• Mobilized 134 disaster workers.
Red Cross workers throughout eastern NC provided support to 113 residents for nearly 4 weeks. All of this was possible thanks to generous donors and volunteers.
Click here to view an infograph on the Kinston Towers Response.
For photos and stories from the Kinston Towers Response, visit the Lenoir County Facebook page!