HURRICANE IAN: How local groups from the Ozarks aid those in need

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 4:19 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It’s been a week since the impacts of Ian started the path of destruction along the southwest coast of Florida, and several groups from the Ozarks have done their part in helping survivors.

Convoy of Hope has been stationed in Fort Myers since last Friday. Over a dozen truckloads of supplies and volunteers showed up with water, groceries, tarps, and anything the community needs daily. The main thing they want to supply is hope.

“That’s the ultimate thing we’re giving them,” said Ethan Forhetz, the national spokesperson of Convoy of Hope, “there’s a sense of hopelessness many times when people go through a catastrophe like this, and we want to deliver the hope that they’re looking for. They need to know somebody cares about them, that the Ozarks cares about them enough to send a big crew, 17 big trucks full of supplies down here.”

To donate your time or financial contributions to Convoy of Hope, click here.

Stacy Burks, an Executive Director with the American Red Cross of Missouri, said their crews were stationed along impact zones before a drop of rain fell.

Within seven of the most impacted counties of Florida, the Red Cross has shelters and centers open for those in need. Those not displaced from the storm are welcome to come by for food, electricity, and medical help.

“In shelters, we will feed people three meals a day, snacks. We’ll help comfort them by providing medical care and mental health services. We’re going to help them find resources and get information to them and then take those steps into recovery,” explained Burks.

To donate financially to Red Cross, click here.

To find a location to donate blood, click here.

City Utilities in Springfield sent many of their employees to lend a hand in restoring power.

The crew was sent to Orlando, where more than 90,000 residents were without power. One volunteer from CU, Keith Kubik, survived Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Since moving to the Ozarks, he planned to help in future disasters. Even still, it was an emotional experience.

“It brought a couple of tears to my eyes because I lived through this for years, and I see what people go through. It really makes me proud to be a part of an electric utility company like this one that goes and helps people out. That’s what I do for a living, you know. It feels good to see customers come out, chant, scream, and holler, make signs, bring cookies and pizza to thank us,” said Kubik.

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