CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Fatima Mann wasn't born in Charlotte, but she says North Carolina is where her heartbeat lives.
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Now, she's collecting supplies to help people navigate through the murky waters left behind by Florence.
“People aren’t thinking what are they going to do with people after shelters close and now you have a new homeless population in cities that didn't exist because people can’t go back to where they were,” said Mann, who is the director of the Community Advocacy and Healing Project.
Mann is so passionate about this effort because she's done this before. “Hurricane Harvey was about to hit and I was in the Austin and it was hitting Houston, and lot of people I knew were from the Houston area. When storms come people rush to shelters to get animals out of shelters, but no one thinks to get people out of shelters and this is my attempt to say humans deserve not to be in shelters too. Low income communities don’t tend to go out to resources, if you want low income communities to have resources you have to go to them,” she said.
Last year, she donated life jackets and even bought a canoe to help with water rescues – and she didn’t stop there.
Mann and her organization raised nearly $25,000 to put 200 evacuees up in hotels and Airbnbs while they waited for FEMA benefits.
They also collected and distributed nearly three tons of supplies
Mann even drove a U-Haul full of supplies to neighborhoods in Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Bay Town.
This time around, she's working with nonprofit Heal Charlotte to support Florence victims. Mission Gathering Church is also opening its doors as a center for donations.
“There are so many religious groups in this town that the need that is present should from the evacuees should be met and that needs not just financially that need will be financial but that need must be met by opening up space for people to gather, for people to do what needs to be done in order to heal and being to put things back together,” said Pastor Andrew Shipley of Mission Gathering Church.
Mann simply says she's just following her heart. “I just do what I’m led to do and that's help people and hopefully inspire others to help people because if we're all doing something then something will be done.”