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Coffee shop abuzz with desire to help others

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Kathy and Steve Jones, residents of Scotch Hall Preserve in Merry Hill, enjoy breakfast at the Edenton Coffee House in the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel.

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By Rebecca Bunch
Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

GiGi and Matt Charlebois, owners of the Edenton Coffee House, are organizing an effort to place donation boxes in local businesses where folks can drop off supplies for humans and pets alike as part of the Hurricane Florence relief effort.

The couple, who continued a tradition at the coffee house begun by original owners Glenn and Anita Andersen of staying open during hurricanes to give folks a place to go to talk and enjoy hot beverages and food, are taking that a step further by collecting items to be sent to the areas of North Carolina hardest hit by Hurricane Florence.

The Tri-County Animal Shelter in Tyner, is also collecting pet-related items to help in the relief effort.

Among those visiting the coffee house during the hurricane was a CNN crew that interviewed attorney Sambo Dixon and Chamber Director Win Dale, GiGi said. The front of their building was also featured in a photo by Chowan Herald Editor Miles Layton that appeared on the front page of the Daily Advance, and the coffee shop was featured in USA Today.

“I always say it takes a village,” GiGi said in explaining why filling the donation boxes is so important. “So I'm reaching out to the village in our community to ask for their help.”

Already, said Matt, who is a native of Florida and knows a thing or two about hurricanes, they are hearing from people and businesses that want to help. He said they'd already heard from someone that had Lowe's and Home Depot gift cards to share. Other such donations would also be welcome, he said.

Besides the Coffee House, businesses that have agreed to have boxes at their shops and stores so far include Colony Tire, Feyer Ford, the Soda Shoppe, the Chowan Herald, Sound Feet Shoes, Finders KeepHERS, Blount's Drugstore, Edward Jones Office, and the Chowan County Tax Office at the Public Safety Center on Freemason Street. The Shepard-Pruden Library will also have a donation box available for patrons to fill.

Items being accepted include non-perishable foods and snacks, batteries, cases of water, diapers, cleaning supplies, new generators, box fans, work gloves, rubber gloves, first aid items, personal hygiene items, hand sanitizer, paper towels, washcloths and towels.

“This is a joint effort,” GiGi Charlebois emphasized. “This is not a toot our own horn effort.”

The couple said they felt the same way about staying open during the hurricane and were grateful our county had escaped what could have been, in Matt's words, “total devastation,” although their hearts go out to those that were not so fortunate.

“It was nice to be here for those that needed it,” GiGi said.

Anyone interested in more information about the donations boxes is encouraged to contact GiGi or Matt at the Edenton Coffee House at 482-7465.

And Tri-County Animal Shelter Director Katelyn Robertson has announced that the shelter would begin this week collecting dog and cat food to help with the relief effort.

“We will be collecting dog and cat food to send to our neighbors down south along with cleaning supplies for the animal shelters,” she said in a Facebook post on Friday.

“Our communities donate so willingly to us almost daily so we are hoping to use this blessing for our friends and help spread the love in a time of need,” Robertson said in reference to residents of Chowan, Gates and Perquimans, the three counties served by the shelter.

“Any brand of food will be fine and wet and dry would be great,” she added in her post.

For details on how you can help the shelter with its collection effort, call 221-8514. According to Robertson the shelter, which had been closed for safety's sake prior to the arrival of the hurricane, was scheduled at presstime to reopen on Monday at 1 p.m.

Open Door Church, 1255 Haughton Road, Edenton, is also collecting the following supplies for distribution to areas that were hardest hit by Hurricane Florence: water bottles, five gallon buckets, cleaning supplies, bleach, personal hygiene items, non-perishable snacks, hand sanitizer, gloves, paper towels, aspirin, Tylenol, towels and washcloths.

Director Win Dale said the Chamber of Commerce stands ready to lend a hand as well.

“If you would like to help by organizing your own drive or participating in an existing drive, please contact the Chamber at 482-3400 so we can help you with logistics and/or transportation to affected areas.” Dale said.

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