Bennettsville, S.C. (October 23, 2018) – Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers visited the Palmetto State on Tuesday to support Hurricane Florence recovery efforts in the Carolinas. Peppers was joined by the United Way Association of South Carolina (UWASC) and more than 20 volunteers from Lowe’s, who donated all of the tools and materials required for the project.
The visit came after Peppers announced in September that he was teaming up with the Foundation of the Carolinas to create the Julius Peppers Hurricane Relief Fund, beginning with his initial donation of $100,000. He challenged his teammates to contribute to long-term recovery in the Carolinas, and Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton stepped up to match Peppers’ initial $100,000 donation.
After announcing his relief fund, Peppers said, “Being a native of the Carolinas and seeing the reality of these people affected by the hurricane made me want to do something to help.”
The Panthers reached out to UWASC to help coordinate Peppers’ visit with community partners in the state. UWASC teamed up with AmeriCorps SC, Lowe’s, and Bojangles to organize the day-long event.
“We are so grateful for Julius Peppers’ support of Hurricane Florence relief efforts in the Carolinas and appreciate the example he sets through his generous actions,” said Naomi Lett, CEO of UWASC. “This event has given us the opportunity to bring additional resources to a rural community facing another period of long-term recovery just two years after devastating flooding from Hurricane Matthew in 2016.”
Peppers will be hosted locally by United Way of Chesterfield County, which also serves neighboring Marlboro County. Both counties were affected by flood waters during and after Hurricane Florence.
During his visit, Peppers met with Representative Pat Henegan to discuss the local impact of Hurricane Florence. Local agencies, including United Way and AmeriCorps SC, discussed initial response and long-term recovery efforts. Peppers then worked alongside volunteers from the Panthers and Lowe’s to assist with post-disaster work and meet with homeowners affected by flooding.
The Executive Director of United Way of Chesterfield County, Margaret Plettinger-Mitchell, expressed gratitude to Peppers for shining a spotlight on rural communities in the Carolinas that may be underserved and forgotten.
“We are pleased to co-host Mr. Peppers’ visit to Marlboro County with United Way Association of South Carolina. A large percentage of families in Chesterfield & Marlboro Counties live with financial uncertainty daily, and an event like Hurricane Florence really tests our resiliency,” said Plettinger-Mitchell. “Rebuilding a devastated community is going to take time, there is no quick fix here. But it will be done through the generosity of people like Mr. Peppers and the strong community we have.”