Nearly $3,000 in supplies donated to West Craven

Havelock High School and West Craven High School have an intense rivalry in athletics, especially in basketball and football.

But, a group of Havelock students put aside that rivalry to help 208 West Craven student directly impacted by Hurricane Matthew flooding.

The group, backed by the Havelock High student council, delivered nearly $3,000 worth of supplies and another $700 in gift cards last week to help flooded out students at West Craven.

Havelock High student Jacob Rowe had planned to start a supply drive to help flood victims in Louisiana, but when Hurricane Matthew caused massive flooding along inland rivers in North Carolina in early October, including the Neuse River in western Craven County, Rowe’s focus quickly shifted.

“We already had the plan in place to help Louisiana,” said Rowe, the senior class president. “We just had to transfer everything.”

Rowe, backed by fellow students Kobe Billington, Heer Patel and Grant Callaway as well as the student council, set up collection drives in front of the Havelock and New Bern Walmart locations. The group collected cases of bottled water, various non-perishable food and cleaning supplies such as various cleaning products and paper towels.

The day after West Craven defeated Havelock on the football field, the students and Havelock Principal Jeff Murphy drove past flooded homes with storm debris piled alongside the road with a trailer full of the supplies. They backed the trailer up to the front steps of the school, which at one point was surrounded by floodwater, and with the help of a number of West Craven junior varsity football players, unloaded all of the supplies, making several trips to carry the load inside the school.

West Craven Principal Randy St. Clair said the school had 208 students directly impacted by flooding, about 20 percent of the entire student body.

“It’s amazing the level of support that was generated from the people in Havelock and New Bern,” he said. “You see people with flooded homes and all of their things piled up outside, all I can say is that love is real. It’s just hard to put into words.”