Ocracoke Child Care earns five-star rating
The ladies of the Ocracoke United Methodist Women met in the
church’s renovated Rec Hall in late December to fill bags with
candy, fruit, and peanuts for the distribution on Christmas Eve.
Despite the frigid temperatures outside, it was toasty warm in the Rec
Hall because of recent repairs to the gas heating system.
The women were happy to talk about the changes to the Rec Hall while
they worked their Christmas bag assembly line. The organization has
raised money over the last two years to pay for a new roof and
foundation for the building, along with some other improvements, inside
From outside, the new porch, stairs, and ramp look very impressive.
Inside, there’s a new floor, windows, toilet, and bathroom sink.
Everything has a fresh coat of paint. The kitchen looks great. The
refrigerator and commercial-sized sink are new, and the sink sports a
hanging sprayer for washing pots.
was where we splurged,” said OUMW treasurer Kay Riddick.
“We spent a lot on the sink and the new water heater.”
The women chose an energy-efficient, on-demand water heater, and
they’re very happy with it.
“The water’s hot right away,” said Riddick.
The new windows are another welcome renovation.
“We can get them up and down!” said Martha O’Neal.
made the curtains that adorn them.
The women have put a lot of work into repairing the old building that
had been, until recently, really showing its age.
“Some people told us it would be better to tear it down,”
said Riddick. “But we wanted to save it and fix it up. I think
what we’ve done is we’re restored it, but not changed the
feel of it. You know it’s still the Rec Hall when you come in the
Originally part of the World War II Navy Base on Ocracoke, the Rec Hall
was moved to the church property in the early 1950s.
the years it has served the church as a gathering place and social
hall, and it has also served the island community in many ways. The
Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts hold meetings there. The island’s
Catholic community celebrates Mass there. Hyde County and NCCAT have
used it, and one year, Ocracoke high school science teacher Jennifer
Garrish taught her classes in the Rec Hall while the mold was being
removed from her classroom. The Methodist Women have rented out the Rec
Hall for uncountable birthday parties, wedding receptions, and baby
As Martha O’Neal put it: “There’s not a single family on Ocracoke that
hasn’t used our Rec Hall.”
“And they’ve been very generous in supporting us in this renovation,”
The renovations have cost about $60,000 and all but $17,000 (on loan
from the church conference) came from fundraisers and donations. The
women organized barbecue dinners, bake sales, and yard sales. They
hosted regular Sunday dinner fundraisers last winter. They make some
money every year serving lunch during the Ocrafolk Festival in June,
and at their Fall Bazaar in November.
The Methodist Women also distribute two cookbooks to local shops
– the “green one” and the “yellow one,”
which provide a steady income. (The women like to point out that the
green cookbook contains a recipe for an illegal food. Back when it was
first published in 1960s, sea turtles were a favorite local delicacy,
but now they are, of course, protected by the Endangered Species Act.
The Rec Hall is rentable again, but the women still plan some more
improvements, including painting the exterior, and then they’ll
turn their attention to the church parsonage on Howard Street.
They’ve already had a new roof put on the parsonage this year,
and they plan to update the kitchen, replace the bathroom floor, and
install a new furnace by the time a new minister arrives in June. (The
Reverend Joyce Reynolds is retiring in June and has, says Riddick,
“endured the hardships of the parsonage.”)