As we watch one of the strongest storms to ever hit the United States, you might feel helpless being so far away from so many who will need help in the coming days. As someone who lived through one of these massive hurricanes when Irma hit SWFL in 2017, let me assure you, a lot of people are going to need a lot of help. But there are so many ways to make a difference even from thousands of miles away.
We won't really know the full impact of the damage for several days. With the storm still moving and expected to not even near the east coast until closer to the weekend, it will take time to assess the severity of damage it leaves along the way.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little re-traumatized right now watching Ian take a path similar to others and through roads and neighborhoods I traveled for so many years. I have family and friends there and my son has former classmates and teachers who were unable to evacuate also. Watching the coverage is hard and it brings back a lot of memories of our experience during Irma and in the days, weeks and months after.
One of the experiences I remember the most though was the awesome community I discovered after such a disaster. I saw neighbors helping neighbors and humanity just pull together to bring calm where winds had ravaged entire buildings and trees were snapped like toothpicks on the ground. I saw people rebuilding right away. I saw total strangers donate everything from food to clothing to cash to even just time to lend an ear and offer a hug and listen as people shared. And I saw organizations on the ready to do whatever was needed to keep people safe and sheltered.
It might seem hard to imagine that we can help too, from all the way up here. But we CAN. There are so many wonderful groups on the ready right now to be the support people will need over these next few days and weeks.
FEMA has a great resource of these organizations where you can give now or perhaps in a few days or weeks. From The Salvation Army to the Red Cross to NVOAD, there are dozens of ways to make a gift and get help to those impacted by Ian. You can find the complete list and guidelines on how to be sure your gifts go to legitimate organizations and charities by visiting FEMA today.
And if you have friends or family in Florida or along the coasts right now, please know they are in our thoughts.
All my best and thank you so much,