Several faith-based groups are already helping with the recovery after the Category 4 storm destroyed tens of thousands of homes. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has prepared more than half a million meals, Samaritans Purse has more than 3,000 volunteers on the way, and Eight Days of Hope has already started to help clean up and rebuild in several communities.
"We've been helping families with tree damage, we've been tarping roofs, we've been gutting out homes that flooded, and it's been an amazing 10 days," founder Steve Tybor tells AFN.
He says Ian was the "perfect storm," so to speak, in terms of damage. Winds reached 150 mph, and based off of preliminary analysis, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday that the Gulf of Mexico pushed as high as 15 feet above the normally dry ground on Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
"You've got significant water damage, especially along the coast near the Fort Myers area, but the wind damage, too," he notes. "So unfortunately, it was the one-two punch."
In fact, after seeing the damage, Eight Days of Hope decided to expand its footprint in the storm-ravaged area. The ministry deployed its Rapid Response Ministry and heavy equipment "to love and serve the community of Sarasota" October 5th and will be moving south at the end of the month.
"We just announced that we're extending our efforts to move down to Fort Myers, so we'll be in southwest Florida right through November 12th," Tybor details.
The ministry is still inviting volunteers to register and meet at Summit Church on October 31st. The first day of serving will be Tuesday, November 1st.