Sundae Horn, Press Release
Don't Know Who Needs to Hear This.....
Crystal Canterbury

.... but Ocracoke is not a thrift store. 

.....or, of you're thinking of bringing stuff, here's how to do it.

We love you, we appreciate that you want to help, but we don't need "stuff."

Ocracoke residents have been amazed by generosity for the past three months since Hurricane Dorian hit. Our early needs were overwhelming and essential  – food, water, clothing, cleaning supplies, generators, fans. The help came fast and we are grateful beyond measure. In disaster mode, we needed whatever we could get in the moment. 

After we could take a deep breath and plan for beyond the next meal, we found that people were willing to send donations for more enduring and specialized needs: new bikes for the kids, help with Christmas decor and gifts, winter coats, space heaters.

We are now in longterm recovery mode, and our needs have changed. Most families have big needs: temporary housing, building supplies, appliances, and/or cars. Big and small needs are specific, which is why the Adopt-a-Family program at the Lifesaving Church provides for items the individual families have requested. 

But because people are so generous, the island often receives shipments of stuff we just can't use: used clothing, books, knick-knacks and cast-off stuff of the type that you'd find in a thrift store. And we have nowhere to put it. Village Thrift is closed for repairs, the temporary Clothes Closet at Native Seafood will close this month, and storage for everyone is at a premium. 

Speaking as the Ocracoke Library's branch manager, I can say that we love that our patrons want to help us and send used books. But we don't have a library right now, and won't have space to store used books until we get the library building back, which will be months. The temporary library is in the lobby of WOVV and we already have boxes and boxes of used books that people have mailed to us. There will come a day when we are asking for donations of used books for our annual used book sale, but that day is a long way off. 

It's a conundrum. No one on Ocracoke wants to appear ungrateful. We want our supporters to know how much we appreciate their efforts on our behalf. Ocracoke has a long way to go, but we wouldn't be anywhere near as far into recovery as we are without the kindness and generosity of our off-island friends. 

Thanks to Alicia Peel for the following information that she compiled for Ocracoke Disaster Relief. Alicia has been a full-time volunteer for Ocracoke since two days after the storm. Actually, full-time doesn't begin to cover it; she hasn't had a day off yet!

Information Regarding Donation Drop-Offs to Ocracoke Island

Effective 12/02/19

Ocracoke has opened to visitors as of 12/02/19, so the Ocracoke Interfaith Relief and Recovery Team (OIRRT) is instituting a validation system for donations brought to the island.

Our community is at the point in recovery where early stage donations are no longer needed. Examples of this include but are not limited to: clean up kits, used clothing, used shoes, and other items. In order to keep the relief effort organized and streamlined, we will only be accepting validated donations at the Fire Station. 

In order to obtain validation for a donation drop off, email Through that correspondence, you will be required to provide information about your donation. Depending on the nature of your donation, requested information may range from a detailed inventory list, to photographs of items.

After initial correspondence, you will be notified whether or not your donation is validated. Approval will include a donation validation number, which you must have on hand at the time of drop off.  If approved, OIRRT will also require basic information such as date and time of intended delivery, organization information, and contact information for the driver. If your donation is unapproved, you will not receive a donation validation number and will be advised to direct your donation elsewhere. 

OIRRT reserves the right to reject or partially accept any unvalidated donations that arrive to the drop off location. Furthermore, validated donations that arrive with unlisted items may only be partially accepted. 

This measure is being put in place to preserve the recovery efforts of the OIRRT, and not overwhelm the island with unsolicited donations in our time of need. We thank you in advance for your cooperation, and look forward to working with donors. 

How to Help Ocracoke Post-Dorian

In the midst of a huge natural disaster, many are compelled to do whatever they can to help. However, certain donations and lack of communication actually make relief operations run much less efficiently. Here are some tips on how to support Ocracoke in a well-organized, productive manner. 

Donate Your Time

If you haven't been affected by the disaster, donate your time and volunteer with the United Methodist Church Regional Disaster Response Center; the island's long-term recovery partner. Contact them at their hotline: 1-888-440-9167

Ask Before You Act

It's easy to get swept up in the moment and take on a project, or travel to volunteer, without going through the proper channels. Patience and communication is key in relief efforts. Please contact OIRRT through before beginning any supply drives or traveling to the island to volunteer.

Request a Needs List 

Ocracoke Disaster Relief can often provide interested individuals and organizations with a list of needs based on the donor's budget and potential outreach. If you would like to facilitate a supply drive, contact our organization via email at

Community Programs

Rather than starting your own supply drive, it is often more effective for an individual to support a community program. For details on current programs and enrollment, please contact us via the aforementioned email.

Respecting Privacy 

Even though the island will be open to visitors on December 2nd, many residents are not ready to discuss their personal recovery and losses. If you do choose to visit, please respect residents' privacy and understand that many people are still displaced from their homes.

Support the Economy 

If you are able to vacation on Ocracoke, please do! Local businesses need your support. However, bringing unverified donations, intending to come down as a non-validated volunteer, or preforming recovery actions without first contacting an organization on the island will disrupt the organized relief effort. 

Provide Monetary Donations

Monetary donations are hands down the most useful thing you can send to Ocracoke right now; they allow relief operations and foundations to allocate funds where they are needed most. Instead of a $1 can of tuna, $1 can buy a more significant amount of nutritious food when purchased in bulk. Appliances and other large items can be purchased at a discount, and rental assistance can be provided to residents. Plus, monetary donations allow for flexibility, and the ability to purchase items when an immediate need arises. The following are the official outlets through which donations can be accepted to Ocracoke. 

Mailing Checks:

Paybale to: Lifesaving Church, Mail to: Livesaving Church, PO Box 68 Ocracoke, NC 27960, "Disaster Relief" in memo

Payable to: OUMC: Mail to: Ocracoke United Methodist Church, PO Box 278 Ocracoke, NC 27960

Payable to: NCCUMC: Mail to: NCCUMC, 700 Waterfield Ridge Place Garner, NC 27529, "Ocracoke" in memo


The Outer Banks Community Foundation

This information is courtesy of the OIRRT, parent organization of Ocracoke Disaster Relief, and is not affiliated with Hyde County Information