Friday, March 24, 2023

After hurricane Florence, many parts of North and South Carolina were devastated by horrible flooding and winds of up to 150 mph. A group of 10 NCSY teens, along with Regional Director Rabbi Ethan Katz and Assistant Regional Director Aliza English, rushed to North Carolina to help. Although we arrived very late Saturday night, we all went straight to work early Sunday morning.

Joined by the International Orthodox Christian Charities, we began work on a house which had been flooded with over four feet of water. While tearing up carpets, clearing out mattresses, and removing cabinets, we searched for anything from bed frames to pictures that could be salvaged. Luckily, there were a few items which were up high enough that they could be saved. Unfortunately, though, much of it needed to be brought out to the curb for garbage pickup. One such item was a very large mattress, which was so waterlogged, it needed six people to help carry it out.

After four and a half hours of intense work, we went to a second home that had been almost completely flooded. Some rooms which had been vacuumed out before we got there had water marks going up to the ceiling. After demolishing wall units and shelves, we started clearing out the rooms. We shoveled children’s toys, dolls, and stuffed animals, along with clothing, beds, and more into wheelbarrows to be thrown out. As the day came to an end, we proceeded to the Chabad of Wilmington where we heard a speech from the Rabbi, and enjoyed a delicious barbecue. Once we finished, we went to Funplex where we drove go karts, played mini golf, and enjoyed a game of laser tag.

We got up early the next morning and started working on a home that had been destroyed by flooding. We began by tearing out the carpets out of three different rooms, after which it was time to break down the walls. We started by removing the outer frames, followed by two layers of paneling. Then came time to tear down the sheetrock. We knocked holes into the walls until the walls were ready to come down. In some areas, the walls were so damaged, it didn’t take much effort at all; all we had to do was use our hands to pull out the sheet rock. Other areas simply crumbled once we made a hole. After a long but rewarding four and a half hours, we packed up and went on our way to the airport.

Thanks to NCSY, we were given the amazing opportunity to do a tremendous amount of work, help these homeowners start the process of rebuilding their lives, gained new skills, and experienced what it means to do true chessed; helping others no matter the circumstances. The lessons we learned on this amazing trip, such as appreciating what we have and to always help others will stay with us and help us achieve more throughout our lives.

By Leora Fischman

Leora Fishman is a senior at Ma’ayanot High School for Girls.

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