Hurricane Irma is gone, but only after it spent the majority of Monday’s early morning hours tearing through Jacksonville.
And as the light of dawn peeked through, the damage that had been done to our city became horrifyingly apparent. Major stretches of the city core flooded with a mix of rainwater and river sludge. Trees were torn from the ground, landing on power lines, major streets, and houses.
Over 300 residents had to be rescued by emergency personnel, and even now many remain stranded in city shelters. Over 100,000 residents still are without electricity.
Some were lucky enough to survive the storm with zero damage, but many others were left with problems much more serious.
For some homeowners and business owners, massive flooding and falling trees have caused damage that could take months to fix. For others, the damage may even be too severe for rebuilding.
Nonetheless, now that the storm has passed, the city’s rebuilding efforts will commence. And for those of us who got lucky, the question now becomes: how can we help those who weren’t so lucky?
Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, established last year to aid Hurricane Matthew rebuilding efforts, has been reactivated and is taking donations to assist those involved in the First Coast recovery efforts.
Proceeds from the fund will go to both immediate and long-term recovery from Irma’s effects. Those in need of help are able to apply for funds through United Way of Northeast Florida.
So far, $2 million has been pledged including $1 million from the Jaguars.
To make a donation, visit unitedwaynefl.org/relieffund or text “STORM” to 50503.
If you’d rather contribute time than money, you can also volunteer to help by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope – and are very confident – that everyone who is able to help in some way will do so. Nothing defines a community more than its ability to respond well in times of crisis, and we believe in Jacksonville.