RALEIGH (WTVD) --The utter devastation in Lumberton, which has been inundated with flood waters from the Lumber River, is staggering. Before Hurricane Matthew dumped torrential rains on the town, one Raleigh man dropped off his children there to be with family.
Once the water started to rise, he was in a race against time to get his children out of the area.
"Now it was not about getting to my children, now it was becoming this idea that it was going to be about rescuing my children," Jedidiah Gant told ABC11.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN ABOUT RALLY AND RELIEF NC
Gant was driving to Lumberton last Sunday to pick up his son and daughter from what was supposed to be a fun weekend at their grandparent's house. As he drove out of Wake County, though, he began to see signs of trouble.
"Gas stations were full of people trying to get gas, and fast food restaurants...little did I know it's because there was no power south of where I was driving," Gant recalled.
He was detoured because of flooding, and messages started pouring in from his family.
"Chaos was starting to unfold," Gant explained. "My parents said that their neighborhood started to flood. I started getting kind of panicky, trying to figure out how I was going to get there."
The water rose around Robeson County and Gant was blocked out. He drove 600 miles over 10 hours, and had to come back to Raleigh before he ran out of gas - without his children.
"As a parent, that's tough to try to rescue your children from a disaster zone and not succeed."
Monday came, and Lumberton was under water. Hundreds of people were rescued from rooftops. Gant and his wife were on a mission to rescue their children.
"Our goal was to get our son that day because he has special needs. He has medical issues," Gant explained.
Through detours and help from first responders, the Gants made it to Lumberton. Now, though, Gant is wondering how his hometown will recover.
"Do people leave and move somewhere else? But then where do you go? And how do you sell your house?" he questioned. "What do you do?"
To help answer that question, Gant and another local businessman started Rally and Relief NC.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT RALLY AND RELIEF NC
Saturday, at least 40 local businesses will donate a portion of their sales to the group.
All of that money will go to the North Carolina Community Foundation's Statewide Disaster Relief Fund - and it will go specifically to the Lumberton area and other communities around Robeson and Cumberland counties.
Here is a list of all businesses participating:
Capital Club 16
Yellow Dog Bakery
Raleigh Beer Garden
Dos Taquitos Xoco
Person Street Bar
Tasty Beverage Company
MoJoe's Burger Joint
Edge of Urge
Crank Arm Brewing
So and So Books