How To Help Those Impacted By Hurricane Ian


In the wake of Hurricane Ian’s catastrophic rampage through Florida and South Carolina, thousands of people were displaced from their homes, and the death toll is still climbing. Here are several organizations that are offering services to victims and accepting donations.

The American Red Cross is providing shelter and meals for Hurricane Ian survivors with more than 1,400 trained disaster workers supporting relief efforts in Florida.

The organization has opened some 39 shelters across the state, which can be found here, and requires people to give only their names and where they lived before the hurricane hit. For those looking to stay at a Red Cross shelter, it’s recommended to bring prescription medication, extra clothing, bedding, hygiene supplies, important documents and, if needed, items for children such as diapers, formula and toys. Pets brought to the shelter may have to be housed in a different location, depending on the situation, and for public health reasons, Red Cross shelters require everyone to wear face masks.

The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies is a disability-led organization that focuses on equity for people with disabilities, older adults and people with access and functional needs from disaster preparation to recovery response. The organization hosts a hotline that acts as a hub to connect people with the resources available in their area and has a history of partnering with agencies such as FEMA and charities like The American Red Cross.

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Rescuers help evacuate Suzanne Tomlinson, a resident who rode out the storm, as they carry her to a waiting boat in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Pine Island in Florida’s Lee County, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. The only bridge to the island is heavily damaged so it can only be reached by boat or air. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

“We fear that the majority of the people that may have passed or were heavily injured by Ian will be people with disabilities or older adults,” Germán Parodi told AccuWeather on Friday as the number of fatalities was just starting to come to light. Parodi and Shaylin Sluzalis are the co-executive directors of The Partnership.

People with disabilities and older adults are two to four times more likely to die or be seriously injured during a disaster than people without disabilities, according to a 2017 study. The study attributed the disproportionate rate of injury and death to poor planning, inadequate accessibility and the misconception that people with disabilities and older adults are more vulnerable because of their diagnoses or age.

Project HOPE is an organization that works to provide care for evacuees and supports local health care systems through recovery. Since Ian’s landfall in Florida, the organization’s emergency response teams have been traveling to shelters and health clinics in impacted areas to distribute supplies and assess health needs, with a focus on older adults, people with disabilities and people with pre-existing conditions.

Consisting of a team of roughly 20 people and local volunteers, the Missouri-based disaster relief organization Convoy of Hope delivered over 10,000 bags of groceries as it provides disaster recovery services in southwest Florida. Ahead of the storm, Convoy of Hope packed two semis full of groceries to deliver to people impacted by Ian, the charity’s national spokesperson Ethan Forhetz told AccuWeather National Reporter Emmy Victor. Along with food, the Convoy will be distributing cleaning supplies and baby supplies, Forhetz added.

The charity often works alongside local churches, which provide volunteers and offer a connection to the impacted communities. As of Monday, the Convoy was offering its services in Fort Myers, Florida.

People stand on the destroyed bridge to Pine Island as they view the damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Matlacha, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. The only bridge to the island is heavily damaged so it can only be reached by boat or air. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The World Central Kitchen is providing fresh meals to communities in southwest Florida that were impacted by Hurricane Ian. Founded by celebrity chef José Andrés in 2010 after a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, the organization employs local chefs and volunteers to cook hot meals for people impacted by natural disasters.

World Central Kitchen has served millions of meals, including in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017 and in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

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The United Way of Florida Disaster Recovery Fund is currently directing donations toward responding to relief following Hurricane Ian. Any donations intended for a specific location or county can be noted on the donation page. There’s also the option to donate directly to the Hurricane Ian Relief Fund of local branches.

A Florida Strong logo is seen on the scoreboard in honor of those affected by Hurricane Ian during an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)

GoFundMe has a list of verified GoFundMe fundraisers related to Hurricane Ian and its aftermath, consisting mainly of individual families looking for help rebuilding and recovering. The fundraising platform also has a centralized fundraiser that will distribute donations directly to verified GoFundMe fundraisers and nonprofits providing aid related to the hurricane.

The Florida Disaster Fund is the state’s private fund for responding to emergencies and natural disasters. Donations will be distributed to service organizations that are responding to the impacted communities, and all administrative and credit card fees have been waived for donations going toward the Hurricane Ian recovery response.


Produced in association with AccuWeather.

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