By USA Relief Team (Originally in English)
In 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm on September 10, and then made a second landfall in Marco Island off Southwest Florida, USA as Category 3. Following Supreme Master Ching Hai’s instruction to render aid, our Florida Association members started immediately planning to provide help. Many centers from our Association responded promptly by offering assistance and contributing funds totaling US$11,279, with reimbursements available from Master’s fund.
Together with our local Association members, a relief team was formed. Some members even joined the team right after they wrapped up prior relief work in Houston for Hurricane Harvey. (For detailed report, please visit https://news.godsdirectcontact.net/lia-reports/helping-rescues-providing-vegan-meals-following-aftermath-hurricane-harvey-texas-170663/)
On September 15, two small teams headed separately to Florida Keys and Southwest Florida to assess needs. The Upper Keys Humane Society told us they needed a lot of supplies after the storm, including dog collars, leashes, bowls, towels and potty pads, so the team in Florida Keys delivered those supplies to them. We spoke with local shelters that were managed by the Red Cross. They had abundant food, water and supplies, so we provided our contact information in case their needs expand in the future.
Our team that headed to Southwest Florida contacted the staff of a local food bank who provided information regarding which areas were most urgently in need. Based on their suggestions, our relief team spent the next six days, from September 16 to 21, serving free, vegan hot meals to hurricane-affected people in Bonita Springs, Immokalee, Arcadia, Sebring and Lake Placid. We also distributed vegan flyers at the same time.
For the people in the flooded area in Bonita Springs, we gave a few hundred vegan hot meals and water to an organization that had a boat to deliver food and water to those in need. The people in Arcadia were extremely appreciative of our support, as they could not cook due to the power outage. We also went into the woods to visit a group of homeless people and their cat friends remaining in Arcadia who were left with nothing except torn tents. We brought them new tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, vegan canned food, hot vegan food, bread and water.
In a span of less than one week, we delivered 12,400 hot vegan meals and 192 cases (totaling 4,608 bottles) of water to people in need in Florida. Despite the fact that we also lost power ourselves, our members ran a gasoline-powered electricity generator for lights, and used propane gas to cook the vegan food. With eight rice cookers running on propane gas, we were able to cook 3,200 meals in eight hours on average. Our deep appreciation to Divine Grace for guiding us to the people in need. We also thank the churches, local news stations and organizations that have collaborated with us to provide comfort to those in need in Florida.
Expenditures by The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association for Hurricane Irma Relief Work in Florida, USA
|Food ingredients for making vegan meals||6,550.45||A|
|Kitchen supplies, utensils, cooking gas, propane, supplies for the homeless, animal companion supplies, equipment for setting up a venue||4,728.92|