Recently, members of the MBDA Business Center – Columbia, SC came together to help the Native American Lumbee Tribe of Lumberton, North Carolina. Setting aside their racial differences, African Americans and Asians answered the call of humanity. Lumberton was hit hard by Hurricane Florence and many were left without food, water, power, and other basic necessities. Residential areas were flooded as the banks of the Lumber River poured over and destroyed homes.
Greg Bryant is a business development executive at Metcon, Inc., a Native American-owned business located in NC. He witnessed firsthand the devastation that the Lumbee Tribe faced. “It was heartbreaking to see so many of our people without. They are dear to not only my heart, but the Metcon staff as well,” he stated. “We knew immediately that we had to get them help.”
Since Metcon is a client of the MBDA Business Center – Columbia, SC, Bryant reached out to the Center for help spreading the word of the devastation and need. The Center did so and the response was quick and significant. Many MBDA clients and partners answered the call with donations of food, clothing, and supplies. Some even travelled to Lumberton to help the victims recover.
Longtime MBDA client, Jimmy Chao of Chao and Associates, Inc., travelled to Lumberton with Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. The organization provided blankets, piggy banks, lucky charms, and assisted wherever there was a need. They even distributed pre-loaded credit cards so that the victims could purchase essential items. Regardless of religious and racial differences, it was important that they didn’t let the people of Lumberton suffer alone.
“The storm does not discriminate. It can impact us all, no matter what race we are,” Chao stated. “We wanted them to know they are never alone.”
After hearing of the devastation, U.S. Conference of Mayors President and Columbia, SC Mayor, Steve Benjamin, immediately made contributions on behalf of the City of Columbia by directing a trailer tractor of food and supplies to the victims. With all the support from Center clients and partners, the people of Lumberton were able to receive more than $5,000 in clothing, supplies, and food.
Diane E. Sumpter, Operator of the MBDA Business Center – Columbia, SC played a vital role in making certain that Center partners were not only aware of the devastation in Lumberton but had meaningful ways to help the victims. “Whenever there is a need, we here at the Center find a way to help,” she stated. “It’s a part of what keeps our community strong.”