Duplin County December 2022


County Seat

Median Income

Population Density Designation

Our time in Duplin County began at the Charity Rebuild Center. When Hurricane Florence swept through the region in 2018, the Eastern Baptist Association and Baptists on Mission stepped up to provide assistance in a time of extreme need for the region. This work included renovating houses that were severely damaged by the hurricane. During the recovery period, Baptists on Mission acquired the closed Charity Middle School, renovated the campus and formally launched the Charity Rebuild Center.

The Center serves as a hub for their work across the region – including providing emergency food distribution, weekly food drives, a campsite for electrical linesmen during natural disasters and an event space for community-based organizations.

We were greeted by Tammy Weeks, the Mission and Ministries Director for Baptists on Mission, and Richard Weeks, who serves as the site director.

As they led us on a tour of the space, Tammy Weeks told us, “What you’re seeing right now is 62,000 square feet of blessing.”

We were able to tour the entire space including the gymnasium they make available for events, the cafeteria that provides both a food distribution space and could serve as an emergency meals site in the event of future natural disasters and the workspace where the Rebuild Center stores supplies to tackle home renovations and construction. Richard Weeks shared that they have helped rebuild in excess of 100 homes in recent years1 — and noted they often have many homes in the process of being rebuilt. He went on to note that people from outside of the region are often surprised at how many homes are still in need of repair many years later.

From the Rebuild Center, we traveled to a dinner of community leaders and representatives hosted by James Sprunt Community College. The school is one of a few community colleges in North Carolina that has seen enrollment growth during a time of post-secondary enrollment declines nationally.2

Blue Cross NC President and CEO Dr. Tunde Sotunde thanked attendees for joining the dinner during his opening remarks. Sotunde stressed the importance of Blue Cross NC continuing to deepen its local ties and relationships in every county across the state.

“We are a mission-driven, nonprofit organization with members in all 100 counties across this state,” shared Sotunde. “We are dedicated to the health and well-being of all residents of North Carolina. And that is why we are dedicated to hearing directly from all of you who are on the frontlines of improving your community.”

James Sprunt Community College president Jay Carraway thanked Sotunde and Blue Cross NC for visiting Duplin County.

“We are proud of our work right here in Duplin County to provide education and opportunity to all of our residents,” said Carraway. “We are here to be responsive to business and industry needs to train a workforce. And we are here to serve all of our residents whether they need a workforce credential, an associate degree or they want to transfer to a four-year school.”

Meet Dr. Algie Gatewood

Dr. Algie Gatewood is only the fourth President to lead Alamance Community College (ACC) since it opened in 1958. During Dr. Gatewood’s tenure at ACC, the college won its largest ever bond referendum – nearly $40 million – in 2018 to fund a number of major capital projects and expansions. The college also secured $16 million in county funding in 2014 to build the Advanced Applied Technology Center. Other notable accomplishments include creating a Biotechnology Center of Excellence, introducing an Early College, facilitating an apprenticeship program, and introducing nearly two dozen new academic programs and articulation agreements with state universities.