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Hurricane Idalia Volunteer Disaster Relief by the Numbers

The storm caused billions of dollars worth of damage, but thousands of Latter-day Saints joined disaster relief efforts

Latter-day Saint volunteers clear a fallen tree on a family’s property in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia in Fanning Springs, Florida, Friday, September 1, 2023.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Kaitlyn Bancroft, Church News

After Hurricane Idalia hit Florida’s Big Bend area in the Gulf Coast on August 30, thousands of volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from nine stakes in Florida and Alabama helped clean up.

Church News recently received the total number of volunteers, service hours and other statistics.

  • Total volunteers: 5,543
  • Total missionaries: 229 (not included in other totals)
  • Calls answered by Church members volunteering with Crisis Cleanup Hotline: 6,028
  • Total service hours: 102,206
  • Completed work orders: 2,771 (every work order represents a home or house of worship)
  • Total truck loads of supplies: 7
  • Total number of participating stakes: 50 (from Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina)

In the last seven years, these stakes have given disaster relief to the victims of eight other hurricanes, according to information provided by the Church. Hurricane Idalia was the ninth.

The category 3 storm flooded streets, fell trees, ripped off roofs and cut power. Damage was estimated around $9 billion in property loss.

The Church’s three weekend cleanup effort spanned four disaster-cleanup command centers, three in Florida and one in Georgia.

Elder W. Mark Bassett, a General Authority Seventy, recently visited the impacted areas and said seeing volunteers serve others as Jesus Christ would was a blessing.

While there, Elder Bassett saw volunteers in action, ministered to families who suffered losses and attended a “wonderful” sacrament meeting.

“These experiences were tremendously impactful,” he said. “While we certainly have immense empathy for those whom natural disasters have adversely impacted, we are so grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who has given us opportunities to care for others and serve as His son, our Savior, exemplified during his mortal ministry.”

Elder M. Andrew Galt, an Area Seventy, added that “miracles were abundant and commonplace” during the cleanup effort. “The hand of the Lord was in all that our volunteers did, and we are so thankful for the light of Christ they shared to assist those in need.”

Community members who are not Latter-day Saints also noticed the Church’s efforts. Morris Lane, chairman of the deacon board for Christ Gospel Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia, said his small congregation — only 30 to 35 people — didn’t have the funds to clear the church’s courtyard.

So he’s thankful for the Latter-day Saint volunteers who showed up with two supply tractors and crews to get the job done.

“We do appreciate everything that is done today,” he said of the Church’s help.

Tim Murphy, commissioner of Columbia County in Florida, said he could tell when Church members were working in the area “because the piles by the road [were] very tight and tidy, easy to pick up.”


One homeowner who had triple-bypass heart surgery in the last year was too weak to work, saying that clearing his driveway took him five hours due to shortness of breath. When contacted by a crew of Latter-day Saint volunteers, he asked how much their help would cost — and cried when he learned the team would help him for free.

Another homeowner who received help from Latter-day Saint volunteers clearing her yard and rebuilding a fence protecting her goats said the crew was an answer to her prayers.

“You will never know how much we appreciate what you did,” she said, adding, “Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus.”

Copyright 2023 Deseret News Publishing Company.

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