Man sorting and food supplies from yellow grocery bags, preparing for distribution. Cardboard box in foreground.

Members from the Florida State Alliance of YMCAs collecting Hurricane Ian disaster relief supplies. 

Thousands of families in Tampa Bay prepared for the impending hurricane that was forecasted to make landfall in the area on Sept. 28. Hurricane Ian shifted its trajectory after making landfall in Cuba on Sept. 27 leaving the entire island without power.  

Ian then strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane as it made landfall west of Fort Myers on Sept. 28.

Hurricane Ian left massive devastation to our neighbors in the south. Over 100 men and women perished in the storm and thousands were left without homes, personal belongings and power.

Helping our Y Neighbors

Millions of Americans began to prepare supplies, services and support for those affected by Ian.

One of the groups supporting communities in Fort Myers is the Florida State Alliance of YMCAs. YMCAs throughout Florida that make up the Florida State Alliance provided numerous ways to support those affected by the hurricane, including:

  • The Florida YMCA Disaster Fund, where 100% of the funds will go directly to those affected by Ian.
  • The National YMCA Employee Assistance Fund (EAF). Donations to the EAF will provide YMCA staff with financial support for medical bills, temporary housing or storm damage repairs that are not covered by insurance. 
  • Essential Supplies Donations. YMCAs across Florida hosted supply drives and collected: diapers, flashlights, batteries, mops, hand sanitizers, fans, cleaning wipes, Lysol wipes, electrical cords, disposable gloves, mosquito repellant, canned chicken, canned tuna, tuna packets, baby formula, canned goods, rice, pasta, beans, tortillas, whole-grain cereals, oats, brown rice and juices.
  • Volunteer opportunities. Donating time to help with the countless hours of cleanup will make a difference in rebuilding the Fort Myers community.  

From Disaster to Hope

Jamie Browning, Vice President of Development from YMCA of Southwest Florida shares, “The YMCA of Southwest Florida continues its hurricane relief efforts through Disaster Recovery Outreach and by giving back to those who need the Y most. Our branches are open, programs are running and we are moving to the next phase of our relief efforts: Disaster to Hope.”

The YMCA of Southwest Florida has served 71 tons of food and water, provided 1,422 children with Community Relief Care and community members made 57,935 visits to Community Hubs to shower and charge devices. The entire state made it possible to provide the community with essential resources.

The YMCA of Southwest Florida is incredibly grateful for the Florida State YMCA Alliance for being the first partners to offer support, supply drives and volunteers. The quick response to our neighbors’ needs is what makes the YMCA community special.

This holiday season, consider helping Y families who continue to face hardships by donating to Disaster to Hope!

Published Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022