Living in Florida we all know Hurricane season is unpredictable. Of course they have “predictions” but up until the last hour no one truly knows where a storm will make landfall. On September 23rd Tampa Bay was in the cone of uncertainty. Honestly it is the scariest more stressful part of knowing there is a major storm off the coast that could very well be heading straight toward you but your just not sure. Like the rest of Florida and south East we were keeping a close eye on the storm. Everyone was prepping homes and gathering food just in case. Fortunately for us but unfortunately for others the storm increased and turned south of Tampa Bay.
When we realized we would be spared we knew exactly what we had to do. With like minded people who are selfless and caring amazing things can be done. We set out on a mission to help those in need. We did not know just how bad it was.
Words can not express the devastation and destruction caused by hurricane Ian. This storm not only took apart homes and businesses but it also turned everyone’s lives upside down and unfortunately some lost family members. As residents of Pinellas county we can all easily say we dodged a bullet….in reality we dodged more of a nuclear bomb. Seeing the aftermath on television or social media does not do it justice. Experiencing the total loss of everything people have worked for firsthand is something I hope our friends and family never have to go through.
We are blessed to have such generous friends and neighbors who helped make it possible for us to help those in the Englewood community. First we would like to thank O’Neill’s Marinawho donated all the food for us to cook.
A special Thank you to Ryan Hesse of The Island Team – Real Estate – Paradise Exclusiveand Taylor and Cindy Meals of Dearborn Corner Market, who allowed us to set up at their location on Dearborn St. and also got the word out that we were there to help.
If anyone has volunteered their time or worked to help a community recover then you understand the emotional rollercoaster this puts you through. We were moved to tears multiple times as residents cried after hearing everything we were giving was free. We were not part of a large relief group. We were just humble small business owners with big hearts and great friends! We didn’t charge and we did not have a tip jar. We were there because we knew that could have been us and because they needed the help. What hit me the hardest was people breaking down at the window because they hadn’t had a meal in days let alone a hot one. Everyone was so appreciative and despite the situation they were in good spirits! I even had a dancing 91 year old man who lost his roof but was happy to still be alive.
If there is anything we can take away from this experience it’s that material things can be replaced. Be kind every chance you get because you never know what someone is going through. There is still good in this world you may just have to be the person to show it.
Our prayers go out to the residents of Shady Haven, Englewood, and all impacted by the hurricane.
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