New Hanover County organizations help Florida Ian victims

There are ways to donate that will benefit most

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) – Hurricane Ian is one of the deadliest hurricanes to make landfall after Katrina.

A lot of organizations have focused their efforts on Florida, as it continues to recover, and people in the Cape Fear may be eager to help.

When Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina Coast in 2018, nearly 60 percent of donations came from out-of-state.

As Florida residents try to pick up the pieces after Hurricane Ian, people in our area may now want to give back, but there are ways to go about it.

The category 4 hurricane swept homes off their foundation leaving many with nothing but the clothes on their backs, according to Cape Fear Chapter of The American Red Cross Executive Director James Jarvis.

“There are still thousands without homes,” he said. “Their homes were destroyed either by storm surge or by rising waters that came after that, and it is the most vulnerable population that needs our help.”

Jarvis is headed to Florida to join the more than 1,200 American Red Cross volunteers on the ground, 37 of those volunteers are from Eastern North Carolina.

Also in need of help are first responders, Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue Captain Sam Proffitt and four firefighters from both Wrightsville and Wilmington fire departments, worked with Healing Emergency Aid Response Team (Heart/911) to help repair damaged homes and clear debris.

“We were down there, really helping them, so that if they are maybe stuck at work, or they may be still on shift,” he said. “We were kind of there really to relieve that concern, or stress.”

According to both Proffitt and Jarvis, there may be an urge to organize relief efforts but not every effort is helpful.

“Going down there just on a whim may be great in theory but is not the best situation,” said Proffitt.

The Sunshine State’s infrastructure is compromised, so if someone were to get in trouble, it would take valuable resources away from recovery efforts and put more people at risk.

“They really can’t absorb any additional people going down on their own right now,” said Jarvis.

Ian survivors are in need of money over material donations.

“Although you might think writing a check, for you know, 10 dollars or a hundred dollars, whatever it is, it’s not, it’s huge in the grand scheme of things,” said Proffitt.

“That money will help us, help those families cover their most basic needs,” said Jarvis. “We’re feeding thousands, some of that money can be used to help families with relocation costs.”

According to Jarvis, blood donors are also in high demand. As Ian travelled from Florida to the Carolinas, blood donation appointments were canceled,  which resulted in a majority of the blood supplies to be wiped out.

More information on how to donate can be found here.

Those who’d like to work with HEART 9/11 can find more information here.

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