Twenty five years ago this very month, Mercy Corps sent me to South Florida to find a way to help victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. I will never forget mounds of 10-foot-high debris piled along both sides of residential streets in South Dade County and the homes that were totally destroyed.
Working for Mercy Corps at the time, Dan O’Neill, Mercy Corps co-founder and Sammamish resident, had gotten me one of the early cell phones (a big old-walkie talkie looking device) and put me on a plane to the impacted area. I spent a week surveying damaged areas in South Dade County Florida, making contacts with local groups on the ground, particularly churches sheltering, feeding and clothing people around the clock. Mercy Corps was able to support these efforts with food and clothing aid.
Like 1992, today our Florida neighbors need prayers and help from each of us now. I don’t work for a charity today, but I still recall that horrible devastation 25 years ago in Florida. Each of us can be hands of compassion in restoring hope to families and individuals needing food, shelter and necessities in Hurricane Irma’s terrible aftermath. While Irma’s damage initially appears to be less than originally feared, total damage costs may top Hurricane Andrew’s amounts. Help the charity of your choice and reach out to neighbors there with “ahead of the curve” love.