Emergency Response

Thousands of Church Members Aid in Hurricane Ian Recovery

Latter-day Saints provide more than 83,930 hours of service to hurricane victims

Thousands of volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are helping neighbors and people affected by Hurricane Ian.

The hurricane devastated several communities and cities along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Temporary command centers are operating at Latter-day Saint meetinghouses in the cities of Naples, Port Charlotte, Cape Coral, and DeLand, to provide affected residents with disaster relief support.

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“It is absolutely phenomenal the work that has happened here in the last 24 hours,” said local area Church leader Quinn Millington. “Any time we have a disaster, the Church has developed the ability to organize very quickly [and assist].”

In total, 4,450 volunteers from Florida have participated in relief efforts for a combined 83,930 hours of service. The Church has donated more than 150,000 pounds of supplies to aid in recovery efforts. Latter-day Saint volunteers have completed 2,092 work orders, which are placed by affected residents needing anything from roof tarps and muck work to fallen tree removals. On average, one work order represents service provided at a single home address.

Additionally, Church members are answering calls for disaster assistance through a crisis cleanup hotline. In just the last week, 750 Latter-day Saints answered more than 13,000 calls.

“It’s exciting and it’s emotional,” said Penny Taylor, Collier County District 4 commissioner, during a visit to the command center in Naples on Saturday, October 8. “You’re here to help us. It’s that human touch that is so needed right now.”

Latter-day Saint volunteers wear yellow T-shirts. They gather at their designated command centers where they sign in, receive a work order, and pick up supplies and tools before heading out.

“For us it’s a privilege, it’s an honor,” said Alex Mendoza, a volunteer from Miami. “We’ve been affected ourselves by hurricanes many, many times. It’s amazing to receive help, especially when you need it.”

In these situations, volunteers work through the weekend. Many camp near the command center on Friday night. A brief sacrament meeting is held on Sunday before everyone heads out for a few more hours of service.

“To come in and get people ready for help is critical,” Taylor said during her visit to the command center in Naples. “Now we’re drying out, but we need to get baseboards out, get [homes] mucked out [and get] furniture that was damaged out on the road. It is a crisis situation in so many ways. However, we are a resilient community and people are helping people — like your Church. That’s who I called on. I remembered what you did in [Hurricane] Irma, and here you are again, and we’re just so grateful.”

Similar efforts will continue over the next few weeks. An additional command center will open in Venice, with volunteers coming in from as far as Georgia and Alabama during the weekend of October 15–16.

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