Guest post by DCF Port Charlotte ACCESS Economic Self-Sufficiency Specialist Barbara Beck.
When Hurricane Charley hit in 2004, I saw complete neighborhoods destroyed, roofs ripped off and trees in living rooms. I lived in the area where the storm hit and it was devastating. People needed food and shelter. They needed help.
Having been through all of this, it was a very easy choice to volunteer with the Disaster Food Assistance Program, also known as Food for Florida, during the 2005 hurricane season.
The families who came to us for help were unsure of what the next few days would have to offer. Their situations were scary at best, and it was even more unnerving for them to think about anything past that. All the families that came to the site and stood in line still maintained an appreciative smile and a friendly “hello.” While I looked at all the people there and remembering that feeling of being in their shoes, it made me have such a high appreciation for my own experiences and home to go to.
The experience as a whole had a very large impact on me. To see how community and government can come together to help the neediest people was very humbling. Through it all, I don’t remember the heat or long days, I remember the families having hope, seeing so many people in one place working together and hearing so many people sharing thanks, blessings and extending best wishes. It is an experience I will carry with me.
If a disaster happens in your area, check online registration to see if you qualify to sign up. You can also apply in-person, but the online form is just another convenience.