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Isabel victims get $1 million

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By Jennifer Whytock

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is donating $1 million to the Hurricane Isabel Relief Fund, while local nonprofits are raising money in communities hit by the storm on Sept. 18.

Money raised for the fund will supplement state and federal government aid for hurricane victims to help rebuild homes and businesses, and provide food, medicine and other supplies.

“As the state’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina feels a special responsibility to help the communities we serve,” says Bob Greczyn, Blue Cross’ president and CEO.

Before Blue Cross’ gift, the relief fund had raised only $7,000, mostly from donations by individuals, but the office of Gov. Mike Easley will launch a drive this week to raise more money from individuals and businesses, says Cari Boyce Hepp, Easley’s communications director.

Easley also is urging people to donate canned food, dry beverages, cleaning supplies, baby supplies, personal care items, paper goods and bottled water.

Many local nonprofits also are raising funds, collecting donated items and organizing services and volunteers.

In Carteret County, home of Atlantic Beach and Morehead City, many civic groups are raising money and giving it to the Carteret Community Foundation to distribute.

Within the first week after the hurricane, almost $30,000 was raised for the foundation’s disaster relief fund, and nearly $100,000 in pledges will arrive in coming weeks.

Throughout the state, over 15,500 homes were damaged or destroyed by the hurricane.

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