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  • Guest Writer

Six-month post-Ian update to the community


L to R: Rose Marie Powell receives the good news about her new home

Anthony Park resident Judith Williams with her

new range and refrigerator

Angie Beer receives a new mobility carrier electric wheelchair

 

March 28 marked six months since Hurricane Ian came ashore with deadly and devastating force. Ian is the third costliest U.S. hurricane causing $112.9 billion in damage, exceeded only by Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey. So destructive that meteorologists retired Ian from the list of hurricane names for Atlantic Basin storms forever. But while the devastation has been widespread, so has philanthropy. The Collier Community Foundation Collier Comes Together Fund has received over $8.45 million in donations far and wide from generous donors and organizations to benefits from concerts, specialty promotions, clothing, and art sales.


With those significant donations to our hurricane relief fund, we have made incredible strides in our recovery efforts. CCF has already granted our community over $4.38 million in relief funds! Initial grants supported immediate needs, including emergency gift cards, cleaning supplies, food, inflatable mattresses, tents, sleeping bags, emergency housing, and childcare. Several million in relief funds are also earmarked for repairing and rebuilding homes, lifting home sites to prepare for future weather disasters and relief efforts in neighboring counties still struggling to recover.


CCF is addressing repairing, rebuilding, and mitigating long-term housing needs. The hard-hit neighborhood of Anthony Park has received grants for drywall material and installation, new appliances, including Judith Williams, pictured here with her new range and refrigerator, furniture, air mattresses, cleaning supplies, gift cards, and a disaster staff position. All 60+ homes in that area have or are receiving assistance under the direction of NAACP Collier County Branch #5117 President Vincent Keeys.


Ian left many Collier County Public Schools educators and staff with either significant flood damage or destruction of their homes, cars, and belongings, forcing them to move farther away from their school district. Thanks to a generous donation from the Wanda and James M. Moran, Jr. Foundation, we provided a grant to Champions for Learning to assist school educators and staff facing transportation and housing challenges due to Hurricane Ian. With Collier Comes Together funds, 106 Collier County educator households received awards, including Nancy Ruben, elementary school counselor, and Mary Farr, Barron Collier High School Spanish teacher, for insurance deductibles, rental increases, security deposits, storage expenses, household items, and also help for those who lost or were displaced from their homes.


In addition to helping essential workers stay in Collier County, CCF is also focusing on helping seniors and veterans with housing and navigating the process. We partnered with Dr. Jaclynn Faffer of the Baker Naples Senior Center to create a case management position to evaluate the need for owner-occupied senior mobile home parks. Penny Taylor filled the spot, and we have donated funds to provide five new manufactured homes since then. These grants cover surveying and scraping the lots, purchasing and installing the new manufactured home on an elevated pad, and compliance with federal, state, and local codes. So far, two mobile homes have been delivered to a grandmother and another to a veteran, including Rose Marie Powell, an 83-year-old who lost her home due to the water surge and has since been living with her daughter.


We were proud to be honored as a Community Partner of the Year along with the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation by the Salvation Army of Collier County for our Hurricane Ian relief efforts. Our funds helped them supply emergency air mattresses, gift cards to those in need, and a disaster case manager and worker position. We also gave funds to purchase a mobility carrier electric wheelchair for Angie Beer, a double amputee who had to escape rising waters in a kayak with her husband and her Chihuahua, Bella, and leave all their belongings behind.



We hope you are as inspired as we are to see the faces and get to know the stories of those we have been able to help. It only strengthens our reserve to keep doing more. We appreciate the many who have come together and made our work possible; we could not do it without you. Informed giving leads to powerful results!

Learn more at colliercf.org or call 239.649.5000.

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