SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – As southwest Florida communities begin the long recovery process following Hurricane Ian’s destruction, organizations across Tampa Bay are collecting donations for the many families in need.
Since Sunday, the South Shore Community Church has already sent more than 30 trucks filled with donations to the hardest hit communities.
“We opened our doors for donations and you never know what’s going to come and they just lined up down the street,” Pastor Nic Williams said. “It blew us away.”
Volunteers of all ages are lending their time to sort the donations and load them on the truck that is headed south.
“We see a lot of hurt and pain in our world and a lot of sadness,” Williams said. “But then in a moment like this when there’s so much disaster, to see kids and adults in the community just step up it is overwhelming.”
Pastor Williams said a group of children supported the relief efforts by going door to door and raising money in their neighborhood.
“They actually had a full box truck that these kids, three kids all under 10, had raised on their own and got delivered here for us to get down south and it’s amazing to see kids with that kind of heart,” Williams said.
At the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, the CEO Shep Englander said “the contributions have been from everyone, Jewish, non-Jewish neighbors.”
Englander said they are coordinating with the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties to find out where their collected donations should be delivered.
“That’s the area where homes have been destroyed, roads are wiped out, people have nothing,” Englander said.
During challenging times, families often lean on their faith.
“People remember their roots, they remember their values and they want to act on them,” Englander said. “They also want their children, I mean, one of the biggest questions we’ve received is how can our children help.”
Ahead of the Yom Kippur services at sundown Tuesday, the Jewish Federation organized for a group of teens to clean up tree limbs and branches at Sarasota’s Temple Beth Sholom.
Back at South Shore Community Church, sixth grader Anna Clippard is one of the younger volunteers.
“It’s just been so amazing,” Clippard said. “It’s just been heartwarming how so many people wanted to help us.”
Pastor Williams said the biggest need right now are donations of bottles of water and non-perishable foods.
The following locations in Sarasota County are continuing to collect donations for Hurricane Ian Relief:
- Riverside Church
- Address: 8660 Daniel’s Parkway, Ft. Myers
- Drop-Off dates & timeframe: Monday, October 3 to Thursday, October 6 – 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM each day
- Grace Community Church
- Address: 8000 Bee Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL, 34241
- Drop-Off dates & timeframe: Monday, October 3 to Sunday, October 9 – 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM each day
- First Sarasota – The Downtown Baptist Church
- Address: 1661 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236
- Drop-Off dates & timeframe: Monday, October 3 to Wednesday, October 5 – 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM each day
- South Shore Community Church
- Address: 1899 South Tuttle Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34239
- Drop-Off dates & timeframe: Monday, October 3 to Saturday, October 8 – 12:00 to 7:00 PM each day
- Coast Life Church
- Address: 1100 U.S. Hwy 41 Bypass, Venice
- Drop-Off date & timeframes: Monday, October 3 – 8:00 to 10:00 AM and 4:00 to 7:00 PM
- Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee
- Address: 580 McIntosh Rd, Sarasota, FL 34232
- Drop-Off dates & timeframes:
- Monday, October 3 – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Tuesday, October 4 – 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
- Wednesday, October 5 – Closed for Yom Kippur
- Thursday, October 6 – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM