The first lady of Florida, Casey DeSantis, has announced a toy drive for children who have been impacted by Hurricane Ian.
Hurricane Ian was an immensely destructive Category 4 Atlantic hurricane which struck the west coast of Florida on September 28. It was the deadliest hurricane to hit Florida since the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, killing at least 137 people, including 126 in Florida. That also makes Hurricane Ian the United States’ deadliest hurricane since Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005.
Hurricane Ian caused catastrophic damage to much of Florida’s west coast, with damages totaling over $50 billion.
“We want to do everything we can to make the recovery process easier for Floridians who have already been through so much,” said First Lady DeSantis.
“Our hope is that with this toy drive, families visiting the state’s Disaster Recovery Centers will find some sense of comfort. We are extremely thankful for our faith-based institutions and non-profits for their partnership in this effort to brighten children’s days,” the first lady added.
According to the state’s disaster assistance website, Florida is “partnering with faith-based institutions and non-profits in impacted counties to collect toy donations, and donated toys will be delivered to the state’s Disaster Recovery Centers for distribution.”
Additionally, last week First Lady DeSantis announced that within the first five days of activation, the Florida Disaster Fund has raised almost $35 million in donations to support families and communities impacted by the hurricane.
“As we’ve traveled the state to assess damage, we’ve encountered resilient and strong Floridians who are ready to get back to normal,” the first lady said. “This $35 million will help with those recovery and rebuilding efforts.”
The state has also launched a disaster mental health resources page to help those hurricane survivors who need help.
Anyone who is looking to donate a toy can find a list of places to either mail them to, or drop them off, at www.floridadisaster.org. All donated toys must be new and unwrapped.
Photo from Reuters.