Community organizations have come together after Hurricane Ian to provide much-needed support for storm victims in Southwest Florida.
In a Tuesday morning press conference, Manatee County officials shared news about the resources available and thanked residents for stepping up to lend a hand.
Food, water and other essentials are available throughout the county for anyone affected by power outages, flooding or other hurricane impacts. Commissioner George Kruse noted that those supplies are available to all Florida residents in need.
“If you need anything, we’re trying to help all of you. There’s no boundaries right now,” Kruse said, who noted that Myakka is seeking volunteers to help distribute goods.
Volunteers have converted the Myakka Community Center, 10060 Wauchula Road, into a full-featured resource center stocked with everything from clothing to mattresses. County residents in the area were hardest hit by the hurricane, which caused significant damage and flooding.
As of Tuesday morning, Manatee County is reporting more than $76 million in residential and $14 million in commercial damage, according to County Administrator Scott Hopes.
County residents should report property damage by dialing 311. In an interview with the Bradenton Herald, Mayor Gene Brown urged residents to call City Hall at (941) 932-9400 if they need help.
Donations have be coming into #Myakka! The Center and the Myakka Elementary PTO will be taking over as we expand to getting clothing, bedding, toiletries, etc out to everyone in need. Starting tomorrow, we’ll need volunteers from 7a-7p. If interested, please reach out! Thank you! pic.twitter.com/MRUj79rhbE
— George W Kruse (@GWKruse) October 3, 2022
“We have a lot of people without power, but if your home is still standing and you have a bed, you are blessed,” said Commissioner Vanessa Baugh. “A lot of us don’t have that.”
In Palmetto and Bradenton, food drives are also available for residents in need. Feeding Tampa Bay is hosting a weekly food drive every Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at DeSoto Square Mall, 303 301 Blvd. W., Bradenton.
The Boys & Girls Club in Palmetto, 1600 10th Street W., is hosting a drive to give away food and supplies from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday. A drop box is also available to donate supplies.
While the Bradenton area avoided the kind of widespread damage seen farther south, Commissioner James Satcher said he was inspired by the volunteers headed to where Hurricane Ian made landfall and destroyed entire communities.
“If you’re on I-75, you see the line of cars and trucks, just people heading south to help. You see the spirit of the American people to rise up and help each other,” Satcher said.
In Manatee County, cleanup efforts have included volunteers from all over, including the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Salvation Army and the city of Bradenton’s government staff.
“Hang in there. We’re almost there, and we’re going to do this together,” said Commissioner Reggie Bellamy.
“This isn’t over,” added Commissioner Carol Whitmore. “Help your neighbor, if you know anyone that needs help.”
Visit www.MyManatee.org/ManateeRecovers to learn more about how you can help hurricane victims or find resources.