The Warmest April We’ve Ever Known
Meet April Thompson, one of our community’s most remarkable people.
For meeting needs big and small, she has the will to find a way
We started a new holiday tradition here a couple of years ago. We call it The 12 Days of Christmas, and it’s our way to honor some truly wonderful people in the Chapel Hill area. After asking members of the community to nominate one of their heroes to receive $1,000 in free car care, we choose the 12 people whose stories of service and triumph moved us most. That’s how we met April Thompson.
It all started after a major storm
April has an inspiring commitment to providing support and resources to people in need. After Hurricane Matthew devastated parts of central and coastal North Carolina with heavy rains and flooding, she founded Orange County Strong N.C. to help.
“I woke up one morning and said, ‘I have to do something,’” Thompson said. “They have no water, they have no resources. I decided to start by filling my personal vehicle full of supplies to take down.”
Day after day, Thompson brought food, water and other resources to those most affected by the hurricane. Not once did her faith waver.
A hurricane is a big, dramatic event, but there are so many small storms, and so many ways that a flood of events can overwhelm us. So, April has continued the work of Orange County Strong, focusing on helping people all over the Chapel Hill and Orange County areas.
“We’re just a group of people in the community, not a nonprofit,” Thompson said.
And it continues in a lasting legacy of compassion
With this group of people, April collected enough donations to heat the home of a single mother in the depths of winter. She funded a headstone for a veteran’s grave. She collects backpacks filled with school supplies for local schools. Last Christmas, she helped 84 families put gifts under the tree.
“It’s a labor of love. It’s not easy, it’s very stressful at times,” Thompson said. “At the end of the day, it is the one thing I’m most proud of in my life.”
The work of Orange County Strong may have started in 2016, but the love has much deeper roots.
“I just grew up with a good family —a very good family — and I was always taught to give back to people in need and to never forget where you came from,” Thompson said.
In 2016, her father, a Hillsborough native and community servant himself, passed away. From then on, it was Thompson’s mission to honor her father’s legacy by continuing what he started.
As she carries this legacy forward, her big heart imprints the value of compassion on our entire community. From the bottom of our hearts, April, we are honored to celebrate you.