Thousands of LDS Members Help Clean Up After Hurricane Ian | News, Sports, Jobs





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Volunteers provide disaster relief services to community members impacted by Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Florida on October 8, 2022.

Thousands of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donned the familiar yellow Helping Hands T-shirts, descending on Florida’s Gulf Coast to help clean up the mess left by Hurricane Ian.

Temporary command centers are operating at Latter-day Saint meetinghouses in the cities of Naples, Port Charlotte, Cape Coral and DeLand — all in Florida — to provide residents with disaster support, according to a report from the ‘church.

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

A total of 4,450 Florida volunteers participated in the relief efforts for a combined total of 83,930 hours of service. The Church has donated more than 150,000 pounds of supplies to help with recovery efforts.

Latter-day Saint volunteers carried out 2,092 work orders, which went through residents needing anything from roof tarps to removing fallen trees. On average, a work order represents a service delivered to a single home address, according to the report.

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Volunteers provide relief services to community members affected by Hurricane Ian on October 8, 2022.

Additionally, church members respond to calls for disaster assistance through a crisis cleanup hotline. Last week alone, 750 Latter-day Saints answered more than 13,000 calls.

“It’s exciting and it’s emotional,” Collier County District 4 Commissioner Penny Taylor said during a visit to the Naples Command Center Oct. 8. “You’re here to help us. It’s that human touch that’s so needed right now.

Miami volunteer Alex Mendoza called it a “privilege” to help others break free from the church. “We ourselves have been hit by hurricanes many, many times. It’s amazing to get help, especially when you need it,” Mendoza said.

In these situations, volunteers work all weekend. Many are camping near the command center on Friday evening. A brief sacrament meeting is held on Sunday before everyone leaves for a few more hours of service.

“Going in and getting people ready for help is critical,” Taylor said during his visit to the command center. “Now we are drying out, but we have to remove the baseboards, get [homes] undermined [and get] damaged furniture on the road. It is a crisis situation in many ways. However, we are a resilient community and people help others, like your Church. That’s who I called. I remembered what you did in [Hurricane] Irma, and here you are again, and we are so grateful to you.

Similar efforts will continue over the coming weeks. An additional command center will open in Venice, Florida, with volunteers from neighboring states over the weekend.



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