Donations of all shapes and sizes have been pouring in for the residents of North Carolina hit hardest by Florence. But getting resources to those in need has been challenging due to high flood waters.
A group of volunteers with the organization Operation Airdrop is finding ways to get around the blocked roads. The non-profit, which was founded during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, relies on volunteer aircraft owners and pilots to deliver supplies to disaster areas.
Former Air Force pilot Vince Murray brought his love for flying and his airplane from Jacksonville, Florida to help.
“It really feels good to take what you’re passionate about, what you love to do, and turn it into something that’s helpful for other people,” he says.
Murray says he can relate to what the victims of Hurricane Florence are going through.
“My family was in Jacksonville and had to evacuate for both hurricanes--Matthew and Irma--and I know what it feels like.”
The volunteers have delivered close to 100,000 pounds of supplies in almost 200 flights across cities in North Carolina.
“As long as everybody contributes what they can, and we pool it together, we can accomplish some pretty amazing things,” Murray says.
Volunteer Allie Hoyt, a flight attendant and mechanic, is happy to give her time.
“When we see houses underwater, see people in a shelter with two small children and they have literally nothing left but the clothes on their back, I don’t like to see that,” Hoyt says. “And while there’s nothing I can necessarily do as an individual person to prevent hurricanes, I have resources available to me. And I have a network of people that are willing and able to come and help. I would be a terrible person if I didn’t take advantage of that, if I didn’t try to do everything I could for those people to help them in what is just the most desperate hour of need.”
Thursday, Hoyt was busy organizing a time-sensitive delivery.
“We had some folks call in with a donation. They said could feed hundreds of people,” explains Hoyt. “We gladly accepted. We did not realize that food was gonna be hot. When you transport hot food, the temp is very critical.”
Hoyt says the group’s mission all comes down to humanity.