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Drone footage shows road destruction from Hurricane Ian
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Realtors’ Hurricane Ian Question: ‘How Can I Help?'

Many Realtors donate money but many others want to get involved, removing debris and actively helping fellow Floridians. Is that you? Here’s where to start.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida Realtors®’ leadership team and staff participated in a statewide caucus Wednesday with a simple goal: To find out how individual Realtors® and groups can help the Floridians suffering after the devastation left in Hurricane Ian’s wake.

While many local groups are organizing cleanup, two organizations have created larger-scale operations to coordinate volunteer efforts: Samaritan’s Purse and Crisis Cleanup.

Samaritan’s Purse

Samaritan’s Purse (spvolunteer.org) coordinates specific cleanup projects by city, and the requirements to join in can vary by project. In response to Hurricane Ian, Samaritan’s Purse has projects based in three Florida metros: Punta Gorda, Fort Myers and Englewood.

“Samaritan’s Purse is a safe and effective service to help our communities clean up – it is worth every second to help them recover from this devasting storm,” says Florida Realtors President-Elect Mike McGraw.

The website offers details on each project, but in all cases, volunteers must provide their own transportation to the worksite, but Samaritan’s Purse provides meals and sleeping quarters there.

According to the website, “Volunteers need to bring twin size air mattress or cot, linens/sleeping bag, pillow, towels and personal hygiene items. Tools will be provided, and volunteers are welcome to bring their own tool belts and small hand tools. Volunteers should dress in long pants and sturdy boots.”

Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational Christian organization in operation since 1970.

Direct link to Good Samaritan projects in Southwest Florida

Homeowners who need post-storm help can get Samaritan’s Purse help by calling:

  • Fort Myers: (239) 944-0119
  • Englewood: (941) 290-8527
  • Punta Gorda: (941) 290-8648

Crisis Cleanup

Crisis Cleanup calls itself a “collaborative disaster workorder management platform that improves coordination, reduces duplication of efforts, improves efficiency, and improves volunteers’ experience.” It “helps with the ‘4Cs’ of disaster recovery: Communication, Coordination, Collaboration and Cooperation, (as well as the fifth silent ‘C’, Competition).”

Volunteers can register on the Crisis Cleanup website. The project is a weekends-only event, every Saturday and Sunday in October. The campsite opens on Friday, service work begins Saturday morning at sunrise and runs until Sunday until 6 p.m. Volunteers need to be at least 14 years old.

One designated crew chief should check into the command center on Friday evening or Saturday morning. Individual volunteers will be paired with other volunteers to form teams.

The Crisis Cleanup Hotline for Hurricane Ian: (800) 451-1954

FAQs from Crisis Cleanup

What work is involved? The work orders have come in from private citizens needing relief from the property damage caused by the hurricane. The work is generally debris removal, tarping roofs, removing trees or mucking out flooded houses – a service that is free to the recipients.

How do I register to volunteer?

Brad Westover: (561) 644-1109 or bpwestover@gmail.com
Lezlie Westover: (561) 644-8998 or lgwestover@gmail.com
Enrique Garcia: (954) 394 3171 or enrriquegarciaa@yahoo.com

Location (campground):
Lee County Sports Complex
14100 6 mile Cypress Parkway
Fort Myers, FL 33912

Crew Chiefs go to:
Command Center:
1928 Chiquita Blvd S.
Cape Coral, FL 33991

Supplies to bring: Food, water, camping gear, work clothes and toiletries. The campsite has bathrooms and showers, but volunteers may book hotel rooms. RVs are also welcome, but there are no water or electric hookups.

Supplies provided: The command center has any gear needed to complete work orders – chainsaws, sleds, gloves, masks, helmets, crow bars, t-shirts, blue tarps, hammers, nails, duct tape, etc.

How do “teams” work? Upon arrival, a crew chief checks into the Command Center to receive specific instructions and gather supplies, then meets up with their crew. Crew members take on roles, such as safety director, hydration monitor, maps co-pilot, recorder, equipment coordinator, emotional/spiritual support. Everyone has a role and everyone contributes.

Note: By definition, the work is rigorous and potentially dangerous. Potential risks include dehydration, contaminated flood water, mold, downed power lines, fire ants, mosquitos, sharp metal objects, hazardous debris, stress, injury, etc.

Can I help from home? Crisiscleanup.org volunteers take incoming phone calls from homeowners seeking help. If interested, email Robyn Fields at RobynFields5@aol.com

More questions?

Email/Text Kent Nelson – veteransrealty@gmail.com 786-299-2733
Email/Text Brad Westover – bpwestover@gmail.com 561-644-1109
Email/Text Kurt Scherer –  kscherer5@gmail.com 352-219-1317

Other Command Centers

Ft. Myers.                              Sarasota                                         Naples

1928 Chiquita Blvd S             1303 Forrest Nelson Blvd               4935 23rd Ct SW

Cape Coral, FL 33991             Port Charlotte, FL 33952                Naples, FL 34116

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