As victims of Hurricane Florence in North Carolina recover from the disaster, one Arby’s in Yorktown is heeding the call for help.
“You know, we’re lucky because we dodged a bullet,” said Arby’s owner Patty Settimo. “But these people, they’re our neighbors and they’re hurting.”
This is the second year in a row that Settimo, 60, has opened her Arby’s as a location for hurricane relief efforts. After the effects of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Settimo collected items from toiletries to canned food to send to the victims.
On Sunday, Pattimo looked at the disaster caused by Hurricane Florence and knew she had to help again.
“People in these situations need us,” she said. “In Harvey, one of my former employees was a Marine, and his wife was stuck at home. He messaged me and just said ‘We could use anything, please help.’ It’s the same for people this time.”
Settimo estimates she has about 60 cases of water, 15 cases of toilet paper and other items to send to Florence’s victims. All of the items are sitting in the dining room of Arby’s as Settimo continues to connect with the community to collect more supplies.
She is planning to fill up an entire trailer to send to the affected areas and hopes to have even more supplies than the trailer can hold. If that happens, Settimo will take anything that can’t fit to Living Waters Church in Gloucester, which is also collecting supplies for hurricane relief.
One of the biggest concerns at the moment, though, is figuring out how to get a trailer full of water, food, diapers and napkins into the affected locations.
Jay Baysden, owner of Baysden Computers in York, will be driving that trailer into the flooded areas of North Carolina that he knows as home.
“I grew up in Carteret County through a bunch of hurricanes, but this is by far the worst,” he said. “During the storm, I saw people posting about locals being stuck under bridges or without power. This is my home, these are my people.”
Baysden, 39, is planning to leave for North Carolina with the trailer later this week. But he still isn’t sure about exactly how he will get into the hard-hit areas or how to get the supplies to the proper authorities. Still, there are a few more days before he starts the trip, and he is confident he will have a plan before he departs the Historic Triangle.
As the week continues, Settimo expects even more donations to trickle in. At the moment, she said there is a greater need of pet supplies, cleaning supplies, shampoo and deodorant than other supplies.
“People can forget the small things you need when you’re affected by a disaster like this,” she said. “All of the water and food is extremely, helpful but these people also need things that will just make them feel normal again.”
Settimo said she is extremely proud of the community for donating as much as they have already.
On Tuesday, York County resident Ben Landrum had so many supplies to donate that not all of it could fit in his truck. He ended up calling the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office for assistance and used one of their vans to transport the supplies, Settimo said.
“It’s just amazing to see how people here have come out to help because the longer this goes on, the more desperate people there become,” Settimo said. “I’m proud of what our community has done.”