Lake County nonprofit helps Hurricane Ian victims with food drive

People in Astor still struggling with flooding from storm

Volunteers in Lake County hosted a food drive on Wednesday to benefit people impacted by rising waters caused by Hurricane Ian.

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Volunteers in Lake County hosted a food drive on Wednesday to benefit people impacted by rising waters caused by Hurricane Ian.

The drive-thru food drive took place at the Butler Street Boat Ramp parking lot.

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People and volunteers with Lake Support and Emergency Recovery, Inc. (L.A.S.E.R.), a nonprofit specializing in disaster relief in Lake County, teamed up with Kroger and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office to help those in need.

“As many know, the water from the St. John’s River had flooded the community with record high flood water within this area, and there has been a real big need as far as food and water goes,” Brandi Martin, the executive director of L.A.S.E.R., said.

Martin said Kroger donated three trucks of food and water to be passed out to people in need.

More than 500 families were served during the course of the drive-thru event.

News 6 rode along with volunteers delivering food to families still stuck in high waters.

Charles McHugh said he used to live on a houseboat, but it was swept away during the hurricane.

“Everything that I have now sits in two cars up there, and I have tools in here. That’s about it,” McHugh said.

McHugh now stays in a home with family, though they still saw flood waters.

“(Water) was coming through into the grates for a little bit, and it was up to the second step, past the steps and we were good for a little bit, but we lost the boat ramp,” McHugh said.

McHugh said he even had another boat in Daytona Beach, but it too is now underwater.

“That went down, and it’s probably not coming back up,” McHugh said. “But everybody is okay, and that is really what the important thing is.”

Back at the food drive, one man dropped off food while urging more people to give in this time of need.

John Roszak said the food came from his church, First Baptist Church of Paisley.

“That is what we are made for. We are made to give to each other and to help each other, and when you have a neighbor down, you lift them up,” Roszak said.

Officials with L.A.S.E.R. said they want to hold another food drive in the near future to further benefit the community.

Anyone interested in donating to those in need in Lake County can visit L.A.S.E.R.’s website here.

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About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.