STONEVILLE, N.C. -- The open sign might as well always be turned on at Debbie's Restaurant and catering in Stoneville - the hard work never seems to stop.
"That's one of my downfalls," explains Amy Sparks-Martin. "I do not know the word 'no' to say to people."
Sparks-Martin runs the family business with her father. It's been in the family for about 40 years and they do catering under The Ritz Gourmet, Inc. For as long as she can remember, her family has helped feed Duke Energy linemen responding to massive power outages. They were prepared to do the same as Hurricane Florence came nearer and nearer to North Carolina, but they also took on another mission with the Red Cross.
When the evacuee shelter at the LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem opened, Amy and her family's restaurant would be the ones making breakfast, lunch and dinner for the evacuees. They started more than a week ago and as of this Monday, she estimates they've made about 20,000 meals.
"Very crazy," she admits "Very little sleep."
The mom of seven is used to being busy, but there's another reason she couldn't pass on an opportunity to help the Red Cross.
"Our family was jobless, homeless and car-less with the '98 tornado," she explains.
Nearly 20 years ago, a tore through Stoneville. Amy says she was in high school and remembered who showed up to help right away.
"The Red Cross pulled right in to help serve us meals so it's nice that we can give back."
The Joel Coliseum shelter closed Monday morning, but Sparks-Martin says they're working with the Red Cross to help feed at another shelter in Durham.