Families Threatened by Hurricane Florence Turn to Facebook for Safe Place to Stay

The Copelands (left) bunk with the Tangs (right) as they wait out Hurricane Florence.
The Copelands (left) bunk with the Tangs (right) as they wait out Hurricane Florence. (WFMY)

Even though little Lucy Copeland, the youngest among her siblings, is worried what will happen to her family’s home in Wilmington, North Carolina, her family-of-6 is safe from Hurricane Florence’s wrath, thanks to another family-of-6 who was happy to shelter them from the storm.

The Copeland family is bunking with the Tangs’ 6-member family for the week in order to get further inland and away from the path of Hurricane Florence.

"We've got some people on the chaise, the sofa turns into a bed, we've got the love seat here, a couple of beds and couches in the other room so wherever you find a spot," father James Copeland told WFMY.

His daughter, Lucy, was originally “scared our house will get destroyed, and the windows will get crushed, and all our stuff would not be there,” she said.

But living under a roof with five other kids her age for the week has quickly distracted her from her concerns.

“The kids have loved it,” dad Derek Tang said. “It's been like an extended slumber party. Nerf Gun battle, video games, making slime, Barbie dolls, My Little Pony.”

Tang offered Copeland and his family a place to stay at his Burlington home further inland as it became clear they would have to leave their home in Wilmington.

Now, many others in the path of the storm are turning to social media to offer housing or ask for a safe place to stay.

A Facebook group, Hurricane Florence Lodging for Evacuees, is now nearly 5,000 members strong after it was created earlier this month.

A post that reads, “Older couple with pets in Florence, SC are out of money due to being gouged at hotels. Any help?” has dozens of responses from locals offering both advice or a spare bedroom in their home to the strangers in need.

Others in the Facebook group without spare lodging have offered money for gas or words of comfort.

“We are set with shelter until Monday and I hope we’re able to return home by then, if not sooner,” one woman wrote, after seeking support and advice from the group. “You guys have been such a blessing and we really appreciate all the help and support. “

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