For Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers, starting a fund for Hurricane Florence relief with $100,000 of his own money was the easy part.
Tuesday, he saw the damage with his own eyes, and it literally hit close to home.
Peppers spent his off day helping with recovery efforts in Lumberton, which is less than a two-hour drive away from his hometown in Eastern North Carolina. And that helped him realize the scope of what happened in September.
“My home isn’t too far away from that area, and that made it real to me,” Peppers said, via Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. “It made it real to me to actually come down here and see some of the damage, some of the people who were affected by this disaster.”
Peppers’ initial donation was impressive, and has been matched by quarterback Cam Newton and other teammates are chipping in. But the damage in Eastern North Carolina is extensive, and will take years to fix. He realized that during his tour with the United Way to Robeson County, during which he had to wear protective masks to protect himself…