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MFB Florida in the center of Disaster Relief for Ian

Things have been a little chaotic at MFB Florida - almost like a hurricane came through. 

Hurricane Ian made landfall on September 28 near Fort Myers, causing widespread flooding and power outages. While our location in Fort Myers didn't sustain any damage, we were without power for several days. That inconvenience didn't stop us from living out our mission by providing Disaster Relief to communities all around us.

"Volunteers were on hand immediately that first day," says Karl Steidinger, Executive Director of MFB Florida. "And volunteer force grew stronger in the following days."

Volunteers and staff worked 15-hour days during the ten days following the storm. Over 400 volunteers logged nearly 1,500 hours of service. Despite having no power (air conditioning, running water), over 3,500 Disaster Relief family food boxes were packed and distributed at over 90 locations. 30,000 cases of bottled water and 54,000 pounds of fresh produce were also given away. This was all in the first two weeks after Hurricane Ian made landfall.

NAMI Collier County became a new nonprofit partner during those busy days. Serving a population struggling with mental illness, NAMI relied on food from MFB Florida.

"Midwest Food Bank allowed us to meet the critical basic needs of those we serve," says Beth Hatch, CEO of NAMI Collier County. "MFB's fast response allowed our team to hand deliver the essential supplies while assessing mental health needs."

Here are some excerpts from a note we received : "We are in the process of clearing out my brother's home from the floodwaters after Hurricane Ian. Yesterday [a] truck from your organization provided 2 boxes of food, 2 cases of water, and an array of other much needed items. When my brother opened the food box the first thing we saw was a handwritten note of encouragement and a Bible verse. I wish we could share with you the emotion of that moment. My brother has cancer, his wife is in a nursing home recovering from a stroke. They did not have flood insurance. That personal note gave him hope and for the first time since the Hurricane he felt like it was going to all be OK. Thank you all for the Lord's work and the ministry you provide."

Things have calmed down since those early days. The effects of the storm will continue to affect the area for a long time. This was a unique opportunity to help right where we live. MFB Florida continues to live out our mission of sharing the love of Christ.

Click here to listen to a podcast with Karl and Scot Buss, MFB Florida's Marketing and Development Manager.

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