Hurricane Ian ripped through Western and Central Florida on Wednesday and Thursday leaving devastation across the state. A massive search and rescue is underway as the staterooms in the aftermath of the storm. At least 12 people have died as a result of the storm. Many others remain trapped. Flood events have caused the loss of hundreds of homes and businesses. Florida needs help as they begin their uphill battle to recover.
If you’d like to help but are unsure what to do or where to start, we have compiled a list. It is a sad fact that many scams will try to.use natural disasters and charities for personal gain and it can be hard knowing who to trust when you’d like to donate to the victims of this destructive storm. These organizations have all been verified as legitimate, so you can donate with peace of mind.
Governor Ron DeSatis said, “The impacts of this storm are historic and the damage that has been done is historic. We’ve never seen a flood event like this; we’ve never seen a storm surge of this magnitude.” He and First Lady Casey DeSantis have been out surveying the damage since Thursday morning.
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is accepting donations to help Hurricane Ian victims at this link. The national organization is providing supplies, shelter and other relief. Blood donations for those affected are also being accepted. The Red Cross has an urgent need for blood donations in the wake of Hurricane Ian, according to its website. You can find a blood drive in your area by searching your ZIP code here or by calling 1-800-733-2767.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
Loss of life and property isnt the only devestating aspect of Hurricane Ian. More than 2 million people in Florida have been without power for more than 24 hours. This means many will lose their good as refrigerators aren’t able to keep it sufficiently cold to be safe. Thousands of people are unable to easily replace the lost food and will depend on food banks to help them while they recover. From their website: “Second Harvest works in partnership with county and state disaster management operations teams, Feeding America, local funders and other local agencies to pinpoint the areas of need in each county. By funneling donations of food resources through Second Harvest, your support will reach the most affected areas.” You can donate here.
Farm Share is a Florida nonprofit that sources leftover fruits and vegetables from farms and distributes them to people across the state. The organization said it was sending truckloads of food and supplies to Floridians and asks people to donate here.
CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort)
CORE is a global disaster relief organization that began its work by helping victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The nonprofit us currently was providing support to people of Florida after Ian’sdestruction. You can donate here.
Convoy of Hope
This Missouri-based nonprofit is delivering supplies to Hurricane Ian victims. Its donation page outlines what your donation amount can cover for a family. For example, $15 creates “a family hygiene kit.” You can donate here.
Florida Disaster Fund
Florida’s official disaster relief fund coordinates aid across governmental and nongovernmental organizations in the state. First Lady Casey DeSantis is leading the charge on this drive and has said that the organization is overwhelmed by the ampunt of support it has recieved as donations are coming in. You can donate here.
Feeding Florida is a network of the national food bank nonprofit Feeding America. The organization is coordinating with food banks across the state to provide food to victims of the hurricane. You can donate here.
211 Tampa Bay Cares
The volunteer organization provides financial and emotional assistance to Tampa Bay-area individuals and families suffering from job loss, depression, incredible stress, hunger, homelessness, financial strain, health challenges, seasonal storms, and more. Make a donation here.
For those who would rather roll up their sleeves and help in person, Volunteer Florida has a list of volunteer opportunities, both in-person and virtual. Find a list here. Its opportunities include joining a Red Cross Disaster Action Team that provides 24-hour support and a Disaster Mental Health team to help Floridians with long-term recovery from trauma.
However you decide to help, you can be confident that your donations have helped Florida recover from one of the most destructive natural disasters the state has ever seen.