VIENNA, Va. — As cleanup continues following Hurricane Ian, a Northern Virginia pastor with close ties to the area is taking steps to help.
Speaking in front of a congregation at Vienna Presbyterian Church, lead pastor Rev. Dr. Hope Lee shared a personal message.
“While my family is OK and our house is relatively OK, there are so, so many who have been impacted who are not OK and who are not going to be OK for quite some time," she said.
Lee has a strong connection to Flordia.
“This is home for me. Florida is where I went to college, it’s where I got married, it’s where I started ministry. This is my family and these are my kids' teachers and their dentist and doctors," said Lee.
It's been two weeks since Hurricane Ian hammered southwest Florida. Cleanup crews are currently working 12-hour shifts to try and tackle the lengthy cleanup.
"Unless you have had the experience of going through one of these hurricanes, you don’t realize that the major trauma actually comes after the storm is gone," said Lee.
Vienna Presbyterian Church is stepping up to help, organizing a recovery team to help out in the aftermath.
"We will send a recovery team down there as soon as we can. We need to give professionals a chance to go in. The one exception I’ve been asked to share with you, if you are a veterinarian, there is actually a need that they have immediately," said Lee.
"We will make sure that we are getting into communities like Fort Myers where we have connections to be able to assist those who are cleaning up and mucking out," said Lee.
Volunteers at Vienna Presbyterian Church are now collecting donations to fill cleanup bucket kits and hygiene kits to send to families in Florida. Volunteer drivers will transport the kit to a processing center in Maryland that will immediately deliver the kits to those hard hit areas.
"Our hearts break as we see the massive devastation and resulting suffering in Florida following Hurricane Ian. Many of you have contributed to the relief effort and we are so grateful," Vienna Presbyterian Church shared online.
Cleanup bucket kits and hygiene kits can be delivered to Vienna Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
"You were going to see in the coming weeks, a lot of the community is working together. You will see churches in particular open up open up spaces to have to have hotspot Internet access," Lee said.
- 5 gallon bucket with resealable lid
- 4 scouring pads
- 7 sponges, assorted sizes
- scrub brush
- pkg. cleaning towels (18 reusable, like Easy Wipes®)
- 50 oz. or two 25 oz. bottle(s) of liquid laundry detergent
- liquid concentrated household cleaner (like Lysol®), 12 oz.
- bottle liquid disinfectant dish soap (like Dawn®), 24-28 oz.
- 1 pkg. clothespins, 48-50
- Clothesline, two 50 ft. or one 100 ft.
- 5 dust masks
- 2 pair heavy-duty, waterproof dishwashing gloves (latex-free, non-surgical)
- 1 pair work gloves
- 24 to 28 count roll heavy-duty trash bags (30-45 gallon, remove from carton)
- bottle insect repellant (pump, drops or lotion; not aerosol), 6-9 oz.
Place all items in the Bucket
Please purchase all liquids in plastic bottles. Send only new, unopened materials. Put all items in the plastic bucket, packed securely to avoid damage during shipment, and seal lid with packing tape.
- 1 hand towel (approximately 16" x 28", no fingertip or bath towels)
- 1 washcloth
- 1 wide-tooth comb (remove from package)
- 1 nail clipper (UPDATE: nail clippers with metal files or emery boards attached are now accepted; remove from package)
- 1 bar of soap (bath size in wrapper)
- 1 toothbrush (in original packaging)
- 10 Band-Aids® or other adhesive bandage strips
Please all items in a zip lock bag
Please do not add toothpaste to the Hygiene Kit. Toothpaste which has an extended expiration date will be added to international Hygiene Kit shipments just prior to shipment. Seal all items in a one-gallon plastic bag with a zipper closure.
The hurricane is the second most deadly in the U.S. mainland in this century after Hurricane Katrina, according to the Associated Press. It’s been nearly two weeks since Hurricane Ian hit Florida and some families are still forced to use boats to reach their homes.
"This is my family, my community. These are people that I know so when I watch the news and I see all the houses and things that seem far away to a lot of people they are very personal to me,” Lee said.
Additional churches and organizations helping make a difference:
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance : Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (pcusa.org)
Peace River Presbytery : the link to all of the Presbyterian Churches in Lee, Collier, Manatee, and Sarasota County : www.peaceriverypresbytery.org
Kirkwood Presbyterian : the church on the ground the we are working with to get funds into the hands of locals quickly : www.biggreenchurch.org