Neighbors unite to help after Hurricane Ian


five days ago Hurricane Ian makes landfall As a Category 4 storm, hundreds of families are trying to pick up the pieces as the recovery process continues.

In the tight-knit community of Harlem Heights in Fort Myers, Florida, Ian decimated the region, leaving homes and buildings submerged in several feet of water. Among them is the Gladiolus Food Pantry, which provides around 250 low-income families with food and household items like diapers and toothpaste each week.

After the hurricane, Gladiolus Food Pantry was flooded and essential supplies inside the building were all destroyed.

“I mean, when the storm came, we lost power. We don’t have water. I mean, my food is spoiling in the fridge,” said local resident Keyondra Smith.

Neighbors and community members have since teamed up to participate in Gladiolus, distributing food and water to anyone in need.

“People have worked their whole lives to get a tiny piece of something and here we go,” Jessica Woods said. “So that’s what hurts, I think, the most.”

Woods called his friends after Ian’s aftermath and they are now volunteering to support their community in this crucial time of need.

“When everyone has emptied this tent, we’re done,” Woods said. “Our community is really hurting.”

Floyd Simmons, who has lived in Harlem Heights for 44 years, says his home is a “disaster” but he is grateful for the volunteers in his community who step in to help.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” Simmons said. “It’s showing love.”

Gladiolus manager Miriam Ortiz said that despite the immense impact of the storm, the pantry will continue to operate. The pantry is currently accepting donations of food, water and other basics like blankets, as well as volunteers who can lend a hand.

For people looking to help, food-based organizations such as Feeding Tampa Bay and World Central Kitchen are helping local communities impacted by Hurricane Ian. Other groups offer support beyond food needs, such as cleaning up debris, financial assistance and more. These organizations include the CDP Atlantic Hurricane Season Recovery Fund, Florida Disaster Fund, Good360 and Team Rubicon.

Click on HERE for more information on organizations helping those affected by Hurricane Ian.

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