HURRICANE IAN: Recovery-related information, tips
Where to take or receive donations, supplies
Lee Health Foundation is asking for donations through the Southwest Florida Stronger Together employee relief fund to provide aid to the thousands of healthcare professionals who suffered loss due to Hurricane Ian, many while serving patients at Lee Health hospitals across Southwest Florida.
Many of the staff at HealthPark Medical Center and Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida who worked during the hurricane lost their cars due to flooding. Many are in need of transportation assistance, housing, meals and water. Relief funds will go to supporting staff and ensuring continued patient care as the community goes through this difficult time.
“Supporters to this fund will be giving a helping hand to our healthcare workers who are personally dealing with Hurricane Ian’s destruction when they leave our campuses. We know that resources are scarce, conditions are difficult and help is needed,” said Chris Simoneau, communications officer for Lee Health.
Lee Health is the largest employer in Lee County, with more than 15,000 employees, many of them personally impacted by Hurricane Ian.
To donate, visit Leehealthfoundation.org/swfl-stronger-together/.
How to help other families
Financial donations remain the best way to assist families impacted by Hurricane Ian now and for the longterm recovery. Any amount is welcome to the SWFL Emergency Relief Fund organized through the Collaboratory and The United Way.
Go to Collaboratory.org to donate.
All proceeds support Southwest Florida nonprofits helping residents now and in the weeks and months ahead.
Volunteers can register with United Way
Anyone wishing to volunteer can register at volunteer.unitedwaylee.org or call 2-1-1 or 239-433-3900.
Cleanup service volunteer agencies or teams may register with Crisis Cleanup, crisiscleanup.org. Residents needing cleanup services may register by calling the Crisis Cleanup Hotline at 800-451-1954.
Food donations accepted in Estero
Limited donations of goods are being accepted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily as of Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Ocean Church, 2016 Kismet Parkway, Cape Coral, and Ocean Church, 22100 South Tamiami Trail, Estero.
No clothing, furniture, blankets and toys will be accepted.
Drop off supplies and food for delivery to East Naples, Naples Park
True Fashionistas, lifestyle consignment store, is collecting supplies and nonperishable food donations for victims of Hurricane Ian and delivering them to those in our devastated East Naples coastal areas and Naples Park. True Fashionistas is open for drop-offs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. now through Saturday, October 8. Volunteers are needed to help organize and distribute donations. Check their Facebook page for a full list of donation ideas and details.
Please consider donating the following nonperishable foods:
- Canned foods with a flip-top lid (no can opener required)
- Ramen noodle packages
Basic toiletries and supplies, including:
- Diapers, baby formula
- Hand sanitizer
- Toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, brushes/combs, body wash
- Feminine hygiene products
- Shampoo and conditioner (please tape together)
- Paper products – individually-wrapped paper towels; small packages of paper plates and cutlery
- Bleach, laundry detergent, cleaning sprays
- Batteries size AA and D
- Plastic tubs for collecting supplies
Businesses stepping up
The Home Depot Foundation is committing up to $1 million to support immediate disaster relief and long-term recovery efforts in communities impacted by Hurricane Ian. This new disaster response grant takes the foundation’s 2022 disaster commitment to more than $5.5 million.
Alongside nonprofit partners and Team Depot, The Home Depot’s associate volunteer force, the foundation is providing immediate assistance to communities in need by distributing water and relief supplies, delivering meals, providing shelter and removing debris in the impacted areas.
The foundation is also shipping more than 1,800 disaster relief kits to Florida to be distributed by Convoy of Hope and other nonprofit partners. The kits, which include garbage bags, paper towels, cleaners, hand sanitizer, scour pads, gloves and N95 masks, will be distributed to people in need and those cleaning up after the storm.
'Operation BBQ Relief' deployed in Port Charlotte'
Individual meals are served daily at noon at
Charlotte Sports Park
(spring training site for MLB team, TB Rays)
2300 El Jobean Road
Port Charlotte, FL 33948
If your organization, church, school or neighborhood is in need of bulk meals (50 servings or more), call our food hotline at: 386-222-2756.
Operation BBQ Relief feeds victims and first responders. This is a massive deployment of semi-trucks, tents, and equipment, cooking as many as 60,000 meals daily with a setup of the size of two football fields in Port Charlotte. The effort should last at least two weeks. To support or volunteer go to https://operationbbqrelief.org/
Avoid scams and get insurance advice
As tough as it may be to pick up the pieces, it’s essential that homeowners do not hesitate to document and file insurance claims should they need to. They also need to be on guard against scams.
Many homeowners may be unsure where to even begin. To help, here are 7 Insurance Claim & Safe Recovery Tips the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA) recommends:
- Work only with state-licensed professionals.
Go to www.beclaimsmart.com for easy verification. And don’t forget, only public adjusters and lawyers are authorized by the law to negotiate a claim with your insurance company. Anyone else who offers to do so is committing a felony.
- Check permits.
If the correct permits aren’t being pulled for the property repair of your home or business, then the job isn’t going to get done (or get done well). Be vocal and ask your contractor about required permits in your city or county, and to show you confirmation of their filing. Additionally, local building departments may hold you liable if the required permits were not pulled.
- Don’t pay in cash. Credit cards, checks and debit cards are much safer forms of payment, and more easily tracked. Ask for a receipt if you are not given one – you’ll need this for your insurance claim.
- Be wary of contracts with AOB language. Signing over Assignment of Benefits is a big deal, as it authorizes the receiving party to manage every aspect of your insurance claim, including the collection of your payout and filing a lawsuit for your claim.
- Don’t wait too long to file your claim. Florida requires that all hurricane damage claims be filed within two years of the date of loss. As a result it is important to have a professional inspect your home for damages and file a claim on a timely basis. Supplemental claims are limited to three years from the date of loss.
- Prevent further damage as best you can.
Failing to mitigate additional damage to your property could result in your claim being denied. Provided it is safe to do so and the issue is manageable, work with a professional to take care of anything that could become a bigger problem, such as tarping a damaged roof or covering broken windows.
- Watch out for scam artists.
Florida’s insurance market and policyholders have been hurt by fraud and scams. Don’t be a victim. If you anyone who is not a licensed public insurance adjuster or an attorney offering to handle your claim, they may be engaging in criminal activity. Contractors and roofers are not insurance professionals. Unfortunately, there are some who would use the “handling of your claim” as a sales tactic. Don’t fall for it.
Stay safe with and around utilities
Peoples Gas wants offers these safety tips to residents and business owners.
- If you smell natural gas (the odor of rotten eggs) or notice damage to natural gas equipment, move to safety, call 911, then call Peoples Gas at 877-832-6747.
- Ask for ID. All Peoples Gas team members and contractors have photo ID badges. For safety reasons, a gas technician may need to access the appliances in your home or business.
- Use care when clearing fallen trees and other debris. Call 811 and allow at least two full business days before digging roots, repairing fences or doing other work that requires digging to avoid damaging underground utility lines. Please be patient and wait for local utilities to mark the area with flags or paint, making it easier to dig safely.
- If natural gas service has been shut off at your home or business, call Peoples Gas at 877-832-6747 to arrange for service to be restored.
- Leave natural gas service on at the meter. The valve at the meter should be turned on or off only be a qualified Peoples Gas representative or emergency personnel. Customers may choose to turn off natural gas to individual appliances using the supply value at each unit.
- Customers who suspect their natural gas appliances have been flooded or damaged due to the storm should have the equipment inspected and serviced by a qualified plumber or appliance-service contractor.
- Check for updated information at PeoplesGas.com/StormNotifications
Lee County Utilities and other water providers ask that anyone who witnesses water bubbling up from the ground report it to the utility serving your area. Remember to conserve water as much as possible.
The Lee Board of County Commissioners next meeting is Oct. 18. For more information, go to www.leegov.com/bocc.
Tips for handling yard waste
- Stack it separately from garbage or building debris.
- Yard waste does not need to be bundled after the storm.
- Place it in piles that can easily be managed by collection personnel with a claw truck.
- Do not place any waste below overhead obstacles such as trees or powerlines or near hydrants or mailboxes.
- For Hurricane Ian information, call the Charlotte County Emergency Operations Center at 941-833-4000 or 941-743-1320. www.charlottecountyfl.gov/em, www.facebook.com/oemcharlottecounty, and www.twitter.com/ccoem.
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