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Miami Dolphins organization teams up in North Fort Myers to help feed Hurricane Ian victims

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Riley Hazel
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WGCU/Democracy Watch
North Fort Myers High School football players aided distribution of food at the school on Tuesday

The Miami Dolphins teamed up with World Central Kitchen and other restaurant partners to hand out supplies to families and individuals in need following Hurricane Ian at North Fort Myers this week.

Families entered by car and were delivered food, water and other supplies by Miami Dolphins players and North Fort Myers students.

“This is just a great opportunity to come out and continue to meet with people find out the humanitarian impact that the storm has had,” Lee County School District Superintendent Christopher Bernier said.

The line grew as the day went on and cars continued to pile up, but volunteers persisted. Players Tanner Connor and John Lovett arrived with their team earlier in the day ready to help.

“This is an opportunity for us to give back to the community,” Conner said. ”It really just puts things into perspective. Honestly, we're just here to help as best we can and trying to shed a little bit of light on the situation.”

Their teammate and North Fort Myers alumnus, ZaQuandre White, was on scene meeting with families and taking pictures with fans.

“This is a community that was hit disproportionately than some of the other areas of the county,” Bernier said. “They were under that storm wall-eye for a long period of time and we've got some work to do, and I'm proud of the dolphins and proud of our player who used to go to North Fort Myers High School coming to give back.”

North Fort Myers did not come out of the hurricane without damages. Residents were forced to sleep outside due to fear of mold after the hurricane hit.

Lee County School Board member Debbie Jordan spoke about the community effort to ensure peoples’ needs are met.

“Everybody is coming together to make sure that they're good,” Jordan said. “But it's going to take time for us to to be whole again. I’m not sure how long that will take, but we will eventually get there. You can always rebuild and fix.”

World Central Kitchen and other businesses have played a part in hurricane relief efforts as some Southwest Florida residents are still out of power and have no access to clean water. Visit their Twitter page for the latest food distribution sites.

A number of other food distributions have been held around Southwest Florida in aid of those left wanting by Ian.

Crews from Tyson Foods were distributing protein, hot meals and ice to storm victims in response to Hurricane Ian at the Walmart in Englewood through Thursday. The company was also partnering with Publix, Feeding America and three of local member food banks, All Faiths Food Bank, Harry Chapin Food Bank and Feeding Tampa Bay, to provide protein to people affected by the storm.

Tyson Foods plans to locate its Meals That Matter® disaster relief trailer at Walmart in Fort Myers this week and will have volunteers on site who will distribute food, water, and ice. The volunteers involved include grill teams from Tyson Foods’ facilities in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi and volunteers from other Tyson locations in Arkansas will also assist.

The global humanitarian organization World Vision sent 1,800 fresh food boxes to Naples and Fort Meyers for distribution and Midwest Food Bank sent two semi-loads of critical shelf-stable food directly to MFB Florida.

This story was produced by Democracy Watch, a news service provided by Florida Gulf Coast University journalism students. The reporter can be reached at rjhazel4249@eagle.fgcu.edu.