The volume of what we’ve all accomplished together in the last month since Hurricane Ian strikes me with awe. In just three weeks, we delivered supplies to 6,500 families, covered more than 440 roofs. But more than the numbers, it’s the individual stories that warm my heart.
After losing theirs to the storm, Kat and Nellie got shoes. Rosa got her front door. Little Anderson got to the dentist. Mary now has her insulin and a fridge full of groceries. Patricia’s roof is covered.
Volunteers and supporters joined us from near and far. The Church of Hope in Ocala, a new Better Together partner, drove $20,000 worth of supplies to Southwest Florida. More than 300 volunteers and four food trucks showed up in one day to help the Suncoast Estates. Volunteers continue to help us take supplies to families in key areas of need. A group from North Carolina brought supplies. Barbecue Masters for Disasters set up shop in the parking lot of Suncoast First Baptist Church mid-month and they’ve been serving residents ever since.
We held four job fairs. One here in Southwest Florida helped about 100 job seekers connect to employers and resources after the storm upended businesses and jobs in the region. Grace Baptist Church in Kansas City held the first of many events there. Hollywood Community Church (Florida) and First Reformed Church of South Holland (Illinois), veterans of the Better Jobs program, held successful job fairs, too.
We brought people together. Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris walked with us on several occasions to knock on doors and find out what families really need. In mid-October, we brought together 25 churches and the state to talk about how we can help each other.
People noticed. Numerous news organizations shared the story of our work. Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis named Better Together one of the first five organizations to receive funding from the Florida Disaster Fund, awarding each nonprofit $400,000 to help in recovery. Norman Love Confections named Better Together to receive proceeds from a special Florida box of chocolates.
Meanwhile, our teams in Northeast Florida and the Tampa Bay area continue to serve families there with hostings and mentoring.
It’s an honor and privilege to witness God at work through all of you, serving our communities.
When families feel overwhelmed and without hope, you show up. You say yes. Our volunteers, our church partners, our community partners, our supporters. So many people have helped, I couldn’t possibly name them all. You have made an incredible impact in families’ lives. And we’re just getting started.
With Hope and Gratitude,
Message from Megan from October 28 newsletter