Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Hurricane Ian came ashore on Sept. 28, near Cayo Costa, Florida, packing maximum winds of 150 mph. The hurricane, the fifth-strongest hurricane to hit the United States, wreaked havoc in southwestern Florida, generating storm surges as high as 12–18 feet above ground level and producing extreme rainfall amounts as it moved north. At least 100 people were killed statewide. Kathy Broyard, an emergency specialist with our Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, reported: “There’s a lot of wind damage and storm surge that happened, so a lot of flooding,” said Broyard, “We’ve talked with the pastors at the churches that we’ve visited and some of members are doing fine, picking up tree limbs, and others have lost everything, and so it’s heartbreaking.” Rev. Melana Scruggs, general presbyter in Peace River Presbytery, said all 37 churches in the presbytery “had some damage, even if it was just trees down.” “Our church on Fort Myers Beach, Chapel by the Sea, is somehow still standing. The sidewalls of the sanctuary are gone. The front of the sanctuary is standing. The steel roof frame is standing, but that’s about it.” Also, “our church in North Port, St. Paul’s, had 4 feet of water. Ian also has brought personal hardships, Scruggs said. And, “So far, we have six retired pastors whose homes are uninhabitable,” she said. There are churches with “extensive damage” and “members who’ve lost everything, and whole communities around them that have lost everything.”
Disaster recovery is one of the ways that Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is responding to this destructive hurricane season in which Ian and other storms have impacted Florida, Puerto Rico, Cuba and multiple states, including Georgia and the Carolinas.
To offer aid and support, please consider a gift to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, you may give by sending a check to “First Presbyterian Church,” marked “Hurricane Relief,’ and place it in the Offering Plate, or in the Finance Office. Or you may give online by clicking here. Please specify “Hurricane Relief” on the form.