PORT CHARLOTTE — Pamela L. Homema Malik is one of 13,000 hurricane survivors who appreciate volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helping those in need.
Hommema-Malik, owner of Down to Earth Apparel & Gifts in Port Charlotte, called for help, and Operation Crisis Cleanup responded.
“Thanks and blessings to this wonderful crew of volunteers,” she said. I used a broken dresser and patched it all over and devised a tarpaulin.”
Each week, thousands of Latter-day Saint volunteers travel from Venice to Naples to tarp homes, remove carpets, debris, and damaged items, cut down fallen trees, provide supplies, and help those who lost everything to Hurricane Ian. praying for
For the past three weeks, volunteers have slept in tents near disaster relief command centers in Port Charlotte, Venice, Cape Coral and Naples.
Some mistook volunteers camping at the Port Charlotte Bandits Football Club field on Quesada Avenue for a new homeless camp. Operation Crisis Cleanup Command Center near The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 1303 Forrest Nelson Blvd., Port Charlotte.
Volunteer workers in yellow T-shirts gather at churches to receive work orders, pick up supplies and tools, and pray before heading to damaged homes.
In the first week, 4,450 volunteers completed 2,092 work orders in the area.
“These are volunteers from about 200 congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama,” said Lowell Fuller, a spokesperson for the church. “As a site, we coordinate volunteers, provide equipment, tools and products to match the needs of our citizens with our volunteer workers.”
On Sunday, the team coordinated more than 800 volunteers from Port Charlotte churches serving Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Northport and Inglewood. The Venice Command Center has volunteers from Georgia and Alabama.
Volunteer crews clean up and assist locals using £200,000 of equipment brought in by volunteers, including chainsaws, wheelbarrows, junk sledges, wheelbarrows, tarps and other needed supplies. I’m here.
More than 19,000 cases have been recorded in the Crisis Center’s database, Fuller said. So far, volunteers have donated 83,930 service hours for decontamination of Hurricane Ian. He donated over £150,000 in supplies to help the church with its recovery effort.
In addition, church members respond to requests for disaster assistance through the Crisis Cleanup Hotline.
“These volunteers are in Ohio and can answer the phone and enter information into the database,” said Aaron Titus, creator of the Crisis Cleanup website. “Last week alone, 750 Latter-day Saints answered more than 13,000 of his calls.”
Mike Fowler is part of the Space Coast team. He said the Franz Ross Park YMCA in Port Charlotte has allowed volunteers to shower at the facility.
“We are weekend warriors,” said Fowler, a dentist and church volunteer. “We will come here on Friday and help out until Sunday. We will build as many houses as we can while we are here. It’s heartbreaking because I want to.”
On weekdays, volunteers distribute supplies, diapers, water and hygiene products.
Bruce Hoppe, a retired airline pilot, church member and volunteer, said the team will do their part to help the region through November.
“We always have volunteers available,” he said. “If you want to cut trees, remove mud, remove drywall, or do other cleanups, come to the Church of Latter-day Saints (in Port Charlotte) on Saturday and we will add you to the team.”
Titus said it’s normal to feel lonely and lost right now during the cleanup stage.
“The team will come in and help clean up the mess, but it’s not the end for the survivors,” he said. They may not have the money to rent because they spent it on hurricane supplies.
Titus said suffering residents should try to acknowledge it. They need to “name” the problem, anticipate its feelings, and ask for help when needed.
“If it wasn’t overpowering, we’d call it an inconvenience,” he said. We have an emergency crew on board.If you need it, ask for it.”
More teams will be in service this weekend. Anyone interested in volunteering can visit the church at 1303 Forrest Nelson Blvd., Port Charlotte.
For more information, visit www.crisiscleanup.org.