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Thursday, December 1, 2022

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Hurricane Ian Relief: How to volunteer and where to donate

*Originally published September 30, 2022. Updated October 2, 2022.

The Tampa Bay community was mostly spared by the worst of Hurricane Ian and now we are pulling together to help our neighbors in Southwest Florida.

There are several ways you can assist whether it’s by giving your time or donating money to help with relief efforts. There are opportunities for kids as young as 5 to volunteer with their parents as soon as today.

Metropolitan Ministries 

Words also written by Justine Burke, Metropolitan Ministries 

Metropolitan Ministries has mobilized to provide hot meals and water to people in our community and our neighbors in Southwest Florida impacted by Hurricane Ian.

They have teamed up with the World Central Kitchen (WCK) team to prepare and distribute meals for people in dire need starting Friday (September 30) and over the weekend. But they need your help.

Your family’s time and/or monetary donations are needed.

There are several different volunteer opportunities available including kitchen shifts and in the clothing warehouse. Click here to sign up to volunteer with Metropolitan Ministries’ Hurricane Relief shifts.

Kids ages 8 and older may volunteer when accompanied by an adult and kids ages 14 and older can volunteer without an adult. For additional questions, call Volunteer Services Office at (813) 209-1045.

Among the volunteers working this effort is Thaddeus Bullard —WWE Global Ambassador Titus O’Neil. He’ll be joined by local restauranter and co-founder of Next Level Brands Hospitality Jeff Gigante, philanthropist Tony March, and a small army of local volunteers.

The WCK team aims to prepare 15,000 hot meals and 10,000 cold meals using Metropolitan Ministries’ commercial kitchen as their main hub for disaster relief for our neighbors in southwest Florida.

The WCK team will also help support our local hunger relief efforts while they are here.

Your monetary donations are also needed along with your time. Metropolitan Ministries has set up a Hurricane Relief Fund.

You can also donate nonperishable food items and bottled water at the following Metropolitan Ministries Family Support Centers:

Downtown Tampa
2301 N Tampa St, Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 209-1200

West Pasco
3214 US-19, Holiday, FL 34691

Feeding Tampa Bay

Feeding Tampa Bay is part of the area’s Emergency Operations Command and they are activating volunteers to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

You can make a donation and/or sign up for a volunteer shift with Feeding Tampa Bay’s Emergency Response Volunteer Team. There are shifts available at area mobile food pantries, the mega pantry in Tampa, and in the warehouse to sort and pack donations. Kids ages 5 and older can volunteer alongside a parent at the warehouse.

United Way Suncoast

The United Way Suncoast has established a disaster relief fund to help those impacted by Hurricane Ian in our five county region that includes Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties.

You can also donate to United Way chapters in Southwest Florida if you want to ensure your funds go directly to those impacts the most by the storm.

Florida Disaster Fund

Florida’s official private disaster fund, The Florida Disaster Fund, was activated on Thursday and in one day, raised more than $10 million for Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

It was announced on Thursday by Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis. To contribute, you can visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.

“We are very appreciative and thankful for the outpouring of support. Raising more than $10 million dollars in one day to The Florida Disaster Fund demonstrates the kindness and compassion from people across this state and nation,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “These private sector contributions will be deployed quickly and effectively to meet the immediate needs of those most impacted by the storm. We cannot thank people enough for their generosity.”

“We are grateful to First Lady Casey DeSantis for her continued leadership and to all who have contributed to the Florida Disaster Fund,” said CEO of Volunteer Florida Josie Tamayo. “The amount of donations received is a true testament to the resiliency of Florida. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.”

American Red Cross 

The American Red Cross has established a disaster relief fund for those impacted by Hurricane Ian. You can make an online monetary donation here, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or texting the word IAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort

LEGOLAND will be donating $20 of each ticket purchase this weekend (through October 9, 2022) to the Red Cross to help support Hurricane Ian Relief efforts. This is a great time to experience Brick-or-Treat while helping our neighbors in SWFL recover and rebuild.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Florida Strong

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated its Florida Strong campaign as a way for fans to help support our Florida neighbors. The campaign was launched during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs–that night, the NFL Foundation also matched a $1 million donation made by the Glazer Family to hurricane relief efforts.

“We are committed to supporting the thousands of Floridians who are dealing with tragic circumstances and in need of assistance following this catastrophic storm,” said Buccaneers Co-Owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz. “By raising funds, honoring our brave first responders and encouraging others throughout the state to help where they can, we will show that together we are Florida Strong.”

You can also support the efforts by purchasing a Buccaneers Florida Strong t-shirt–all of the money from purchases of the shirts will be donated to American Red Cross Hurricane Ian Relief.

Tradewinds Islands Resorts in St. Pete Beach

TradeWinds Island Resorts announced its “Shore to Shore” give back program supporting response and recovery activities for communities impacted by Hurricane Ian. From now through Dec.22, TradeWinds will donate $20 per room, per night to the Florida Disaster Fund, the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they recover during times of emergency or disaster. Guests booking a room through the program will be offered 25% off best available rates. With rates as low as $179*, guests have the opportunity to relax, regroup, reflect – and give back. For more information on the TradeWinds Shore to Shore initiative, please click here or call (877) 669-7058 and mention code SHORE22.

Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne is an award-winning former television news journalist who spent 15+ years in newsrooms across the state of Florida including Sarasota, Tallahassee, Fort Myers and right here in Tampa Bay where she still freelances on occasion. She covered the political beat, crime beat and every day breaking news during her time in Florida newsrooms, but is now focused on sharing positive news stories and events with families in Tampa Bay. She is a proud mommy of two little boys who keep her on her toes and laughing every day. Her goal is to inspire families just like yours to get out and play and experience all that Tampa Bay and our great state of Florida have to offer! She encourages you to share your stories and upcoming events so we can spread the good news.

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