HURRICANE IRMA RESPONSE

 

SUPPORTING UNITED WAY OF LEE, HENDRY, GLADES, AND OKEECHOBEE
NOW MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

If you gave to our United Way, you are already helping the victims of Hurricane Irma. You don’t have to choose between giving to Hurricane Relief or United Way. United Way is Hurricane Relief. The United Way network of agencies was in place and ready to help our residents. Please read below to find out how our United Way has been responding before, during, and after the storm. 

United Way’s partnerships with its agencies, local governments, and other responders helped mobilize the movement of people, services, equipment, and supplies. This meant getting help quickly and efficiently to the parts of our region that needed it most.  United Way is working with Lee County Emergency Management, Glades County Emergency Management, Hendry County Emergency Management, Lee County Department of Human and Veteran Services, FEMA, government entities, and the network of agencies to get even more services out to our community where people have been affected the most.

  • Leading up to, during, and after the storm United Way 2-1-1 has been taking thousands of calls a day from residents who are desperate for help and information. Volunteers and staff members answered the phone lines, reassuring callers and providing information and referrals to critical services. As of 10/01 the call volume is well over 40,000.
  • United Way 211 made direct calls to over 1,200 special needs people…frail elderly and people with medical conditions that needed to arrange special transportation to get them to the shelters.
  • The United Way has worked with County EOCs and the network of agencies to coordinate and set-up 8 POD (points of distribution) sites and over 20 feeding sites to provide emergency food, water, ice, and medical supplies.
  • The United Way Volunteer Center has recruited and mobilized hundreds of volunteers to help with various opportunities ranging from debris cleanup to kitchen help at the shelters.
  • United Way has already distributed over $400,000 in supplemental funding from the SWFL Hurricane Relief Fund (in partnership with the SWFL Community Foundation) to the local network of United Way direct assistance agencies. Beacon of Hope, Bonita Springs Assistance Office, Boys & Girls Club of Lee County, Child Care of Southwest Florida, Community Cooperative, FISH of Sanibel, Captiva, Good Wheels, Harry Chapin Food Bank, Interfaith Charities, Lehigh Community Services, RCMA – Hendry & Glades, The Salvation Army – Lee & Hendry, and Eva’s Closet.

The important thing to remember is that there were numerous people in need in our community before Hurricane Irma, and there will be even more people in need as our community continues to recover. Many of the long-term effects of the hurricane are problems that our partner agencies will inherit. Destroyed businesses mean increased unemployment; storm-related stress can damage tenuous relationships and aggravate mental health issues; and massive relief efforts immediately after the storm depleted agency reserves.

Supporting the United Way Network of human services means that United Way Partner Agencies will not only be prepared for the next regional disaster, but also that they are equipped to handle the day-to-day human services needs in our community.

As we move into the recovery phase from Hurricane Irma, we have to remember that the 2017-2018 United Way Campaign will be the most important campaign that we have ever had. 

If you or anyone you know needs assistance, please call United Way 211 by dialing 2-1-1 or 239-433-3900.
If you would like to donate to the United Way Campaign, please visit www.UnitedWayLee.org/donate
If you would like to volunteer to help with hurricane related opportunities please visit: www.UnitedWayLee.org/Hurricane-Irma