Floridian Kelly Knopf survived last September’s Hurricane Ian, the state’s deadliest storm in nearly 90 years.
“It was quite traumatic,” she told a reporter about those earliest hours and days. “I don’t think our community was quite prepared [because forecasters] said it would go more over Tampa; but it ended up hovering over Fort Myers Beach. It was a save-your-life type of situation.”
That change in expected direction was enough to make it too late for some people to evacuate, especially those who lack family, funds, or reliable transportation at a moment’s notice. Fear kept others in their homes to ride things out.
But thanks to generosity from our donors, the Disaster Services Corporation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul sprang into action. DSC delivered truckloads of protein food basics to the front lines. Vincentian volunteers distributed goods to neighbors at the epicenter of destruction. Hygiene kits and gift cards for essentials were given to families who lost everything.
“The Society of St. Vincent de Paul disaster relief people have been incredibly helpful with clothing, food, and whatever else they can,” Kelly said. “Getting people shelter and housing is hopefully next.”
Media coverage waned. But the Society’s dedication to providing critically needed aid didn’t. Gifts from friends like you kept us on the ground, helping people even as attention turned away from the disaster zone.
Thanks to the prayerful support and generosity of our donors, Vincentian volunteers continued to serve on the front lines. They delivered food, clothing, and other necessities. They helped survivors complete paperwork necessary to receive FEMA benefits. Councils helped with utility bills, furniture, household, and pantry items. They listened with patience and compassion and offered prayers for healing.
“It’s starting your whole life all over again. I mean, from nothing,” Kelly noted. “St. Vincent de Paul is a staple in our community, and hopefully they continue to help everyone do what’s next for them in their path in life … Having lots of kind people and friends become selfless enough to help you when you literally have nothing for yourself — that’s what keeps me hopeful.”
Gifts to the Society make all the difference in times like these. Because you respond with love and do what Our Lord calls you to do for those in need, people are surviving and returning to normal in Florida. Thank you!