Ian continued to pummel through inland Florida Thursday morning as a Tropical Storm and is expected to regain near-hurricane strength after emerging over Atlantic waters near the Kennedy Space Center later in the day.
Ian hit landfall Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 hurricane on the southwest coast near the heavily populated Fort Myers area.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking at a press conference, said the state will be going through a rough patch.
“We understand that a storm of this magnitude is going to require an effort over an extended period of time,” he said. “We’re going to step up, we’re going to be there for folks. We’re going to make sure folks get back on their feet and southwest Florida comes back better than ever.”
DeSantis noted that it’s more helpful for people to donate financially than send items.
Those who want to come to Florida to volunteer can sign up through an official portal: https://www.volunteerflorida.org/.
Here are organizations planning to help with Hurricane Ian response and recovery efforts. This list will be updated as additional resources become available.
The Florida Disaster Fund
Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the activation of the fund on Wednesday.
The Florida Disaster Fund helps Florida communities recover after disasters or emergencies. The fund is the state’s official private fund for both response and recovery efforts.
Officials say donations to the fund are distributed to different service organizations in the state. Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund can be made by following this link. Checks can be made out to “Volunteer Florida Foundation” and include “Florida Disaster Fund” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Volunteer Florida Foundation at 1545 Raymond Diehl Road, Suite 250, Tallahassee, FL 32308.
Another option for giving is by texting DISASTER to 20222.
“The Governor and I are thankful for the graciousness of those looking to assist Florida’s communities in their time of need,” Casey DeSantis said in a statement. “I am pleased to announce that Volunteer Florida has activated the Florida Disaster Fund so that people can donate directly to those affected by Hurricane Ian. We greatly appreciate the kindness and generosity of organizations and individuals from across the country looking to support Floridians, thank you.”
The American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is asking people to help with Hurricane Ian response efforts in two ways: through monetary donations and by giving blood.
Those wishing to give a financial contribution can visit redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
People wanting to help others specifically impacted by Hurricane Ian are asked to write “Hurricane Ian” in the memo line of a check and mail it to a local Red Cross chapter with a completed donation form to the address on the form or to their local Red Cross chapter. Donation forms can be found at redcross.org/donate.
The Red Cross says it is sending hundreds of Type O blood products to Florida to make sure that blood remains available for patients who may be impacted by Ian. Type O positive is the most transfused blood type. Type O negative can be transfused to patients of any other blood type and is often in short supply.
“Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients, so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency,” the Red Cross said.
The Red Cross does not usually service Florida hospitals, but it is working as a member of the AABB Task Force for Disaster Response, which offers help to impacted blood centers. The organization says it stands ready to aid other blood banks or hospitals in need.
Those interested in giving blood are asked to schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
The Salvation Army has 7,600 operation centers across the country. One incident command team is in Lakeland County and plans to serve the area for two weeks. If necessary, a second wave of disaster workers will be sent to relieve them.
Along with the crew in Lakeland County, the Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services says it has all of its commands on the west coast of Florida ready to respond after Ian passes through.
Officials say the best way to help the Salvation Army is by making a financial contribution by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or by following this link.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY OF HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA
For the safety of its staff and volunteers, the Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County’s office will be closed through at least Thursday due to the hurricane.
The organization is asking for donations to help the community. Find ways to donate at this link.
Convoy of hope
Although they are based in Springfield, Missouri, Convoy of Hope is planning on sending relief to those in Florida, KOLR reported, as they did for Hurricane Fiona.
As of Wednesday morning, the organization posted that it will deploy a relief team to Florida later in the day.
“Volunteers have packed thousands of pounds of relief supplies ahead of time, making a quick departure possible. Once teams are en route, they will pre-position themselves in a safe zone outside the storm’s path and wait until it is safe to proceed,” Convoy of Hope said. “Once the storm has passed, they will immediately move in and begin assisting survivors.”
To donate, you can go to their website.
Community foundation of northwest Florida
The Community Foundation is focusing both on helping people in the immediate aftermath of the storm, and also with long-term recovery.
“Devastation of this level can take years to recover from, particularly in rural communities with limited nonprofit and philanthropic infrastructure. The CFNWF will partner with the appropriate organizations to support this effort,” the Community Foundation of Northwest Florida said online.
To donate to the Community Foundation of Northwest Florida’s Disaster Relief Fund, you can send a check to 17 W. Cedar St., Suite 2, Pensacola, FL 32502, and designate it for the Disaster Relief Fund. People can also donate online.
Save the children
Save the Children has helped kids during emergencies such as hurricanes Irma and Michael by getting supplies such as diapers, wipes, cribs, strollers and more to parents after these natural disasters. They also set up safe play areas in evacuation shelters.
For Hurricane Ian, Save the Children plans to deliver “child-focused” items to those who need them in Florida, and is also coordinating with national, state and education partners.
To assist in their efforts, people can donate to the Children’s Emergency Fund.
Project HOPE, according to Charity Navigator, is a global health and humanitarian relief organization. It works with health care workers and communities to address public health challenges, and stays in communities even after the disaster to help find solutions to health needs.
Currently, it is mobilizing to help people affected by Hurricane Ian, as well as Hurricane Fiona. People can donate on their website.
During natural disasters and national emergencies, professional chefs with the organization prepare “high-quality, hot meals on a mass scale for victims,” its website says. Mercy Chefs can typically feed up to 15,000 meals a day if needed, but for Hurricane Ian, they are upping that to 30,000 meals — the group’s biggest goal yet.
“This is one of the worst hurricanes ever to make landfall in the United States, and we are prepared now more than ever to do all that we can to serve hope in the form of a meal,” Mercy Chefs said on its website.
To donate, click on this link.