Hurricane Ida left a great deal of destruction and claimed lives in its path. Now, an organization in Southwest Florida is collecting donations to help the victims whose lives were upended, and some with no place to stay, after Ida.
The donation drive at Grace Church, 13 SE 21st Place, in Cape Coral, began on Friday and they’ve collected supplies to send to Louisiana.
Videos of the flooded streets and the millions without water or power cannot begin to sum up all that has been lost in the wake of Hurricane Ida. But those videos were enough to get Grace Church in Cape Coral to spring into action.
Heather Evans is the director of Reach and Send Ministries at Grace Church. “Just feel that God has called us to love our neighbor as you know. We know it’s important to love our neighbors here in Lee County but also, if we have the ability to help people, we want to be there to do that for them,” Evans said.
So, Grace Church will be collecting donations, packing them up in a truck and heading to Louisiana to help those in need. “We need to act quickly and we had the capability to do that, we had some people that were willing to say yeah I can go, I’ll get behind the wheel, I’ll grab that truck or I’ll go and I’ll sleep on an air mattress and I’m willing to do it so off we go,” said Evans.
But they need more donations before they take off. Evans says she hopes they can fill the truck to the brim. “The need is great. I mean they’re having trouble getting supplies, gas is a real problem there, there’s a lot of devastation,” said Evans.
“There’s two families that we’re specifically in contact with who… their homes are completely unlivable, they lost everything. Between the flooding and the wind damage there are a lot of homes that are just not able to be lived in at all,” Evans said.
Now, Evans says she has no idea what she’ll see and what will be in store when they arrive but she is sure it will be a special experience. “I’m excited to see how God’s gonna work in all of this. We have trust that we’ll be safe and that God’s going to use us to help other people find comfort and strength,” she said.
Grace Church is collecting items until Sunday, September 12 and expects to head to Lousiana after that. The church is collecting gift cards, masks and diapers among other items. “They were having a really hard time getting supplies there on location and so we have a list of things as well as gift cards and we can also take financial donations and do some shopping here before we leave on Sunday, September 12,” said Evans.
Matt Melican is with Marco Patriots and his organization spent five days in Lousiana. They were able to see the destruction first hand and witness the pain people were in. “We saw flooding in Laplace. We exited I-10 right into an affected area and immediately got to work on our search and rescue efforts,” said Melican.
That’s why he knows that every donation can help. “We witnessed the need for what we consider to be tier 1 relief supplies which is an immediate need: sanitary products, water, ice, food, cooling stations, gasoline, immediately needed items. And we saw a dramatic shortage of those essential items,” Melican said.
For a full list of the items needed and where you can drop off your donations, head to Grace Church’s website. You can also call (239) 574-7161.