‘It could have been us:’ Central Floridians head to SWFLA to help Hurricane Ian victims

Victims in need of blankets, basic hygiene supplies

With only 12 hours' notice, a handful of volunteers and a few thousand dollars' worth of supplies, outreach groups from Alive Church in Orlando and Gainesville made the journey down to southwest Florida to help Hurricane Ian victims.

ORLANDO, Fla. – With just 12 hours’ notice, a handful of volunteers and a few thousand dollars’ worth of supplies, outreach groups from Alive Church in Orlando and Gainesville made the journey to Southwest Florida to help Hurricane Ian victims.

“When the hurricane hit, we reached out to our community to see where the need was. After we knew that our community and our partners were good, we set our sights on the places that were hit harder,” said Jacob Jones, Director of Outreach for Alive Church.

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The group brought 129 blankets, basic hygiene supplies and also helped cut up fallen trees and clean up debris.

“The biggest reason that we wanted to do that is because, if we got hit directly by the hurricane, we will be looking out for help,” Jones said. “Since we are in a position where we could go and help, that was the first thing that I thought about doing.”

Church patrons also unpacked hundreds of meals that were sent in from another nonprofit group, Mercy Chef so they can be distributed at the ready for people in need.

“Why do I want to go and serve? it’s just our mode to go and be a part of the community; not only confining church to the four walls that most people think about when you say ‘church’, but to go and actually be the church to the community,” Jones told News 6.

No matter the location, Floridians all across our state are hurting from Hurricane Ian. Here are a few links to help you safely donate or volunteer:

Florida Disaster Fund

Go Fund Me – Hurricane Ian

Red Cross – Hurricane Ian

Osceola REDI

FEMA

The Salvation Army

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About the Author:

Award-winning investigative reporter Merris Badcock joined the News 6 team in October 2020. Merris is the recipient of a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award, a Suncoast Regional Emmy Award, four Suncoast Emmy Regional nominations, and two first-place Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists’ Awards.