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First Lady Casey DeSantis Announces Donations are Pouring into the Florida Disaster Fund to Help Communities Impacted by Hurricane Ian

Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced that within hours of activating, the Florida Disaster Fund has received over $10 million in donations to support communities impacted by Hurricane Ian. To contribute, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.

“We are very appreciative and thankful for the outpouring of support. Raising more than $10 million dollars in one day to The Florida Disaster Fund demonstrates the kindness and compassion from people across this state and nation,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “These private sector contributions will be deployed quickly and effectively to meet the immediate needs of those most impacted by the storm. We cannot thank people enough for their generosity.”

“We are grateful to First Lady Casey DeSantis for her continued leadership and to all who have contributed to the Florida Disaster Fund,” said CEO of Volunteer Florida Josie Tamayo. “The amount of donations received is a true testament to the resiliency of Florida. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.” 

Major donations from companies across the state and the nation include:  

o   Walmart ($1,500,000) 

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o   Amazon ($1,000,000) 

o   Centene Charitable Foundation ($1,000,000) 

o   Ian MacKechnie ($1,000,000) 

o   Florida Blue ($1,000,000) 

o   Lennar ($1,000,000) 

o   Boeing ($750,000)

o   Publix ($500,000)

o   TECO ($500,000)

o   Simply Healthcare ($350,000)

o   AirBnb ($250,000)

o   Wells Fargo ($250,000)

o   Verizon ($125,000)

o   CVS ($100,000)

o   Duke Energy ($100,000)

o   Goldman Sachs ($100,000)

o   Rumble ($100,000)

o   Florida Power and Light ($50,000)

o   National Christian Foundation ($50,000)

o   PGA Tour ($25,000)

o   Horne ($25,000)

The Florida Disaster Fund and Volunteer Florida are working with the Department of Children and Families and Sunshine Health through the First Lady’s Hope Florida Initiative to open Family Resource Support Centers with one-on-one support for impacted families, including Hope Navigators and counseling resources on site for those who are struggling and need help. The first resource centers will open in Tampa and New Port Richey, but anyone who needs help can call the Hope Line at 850-300-HOPE.

Additionally, private sector partners from across the state and the nation are providing exemplary assistance to those impacted by Hurricane Ian. Volunteer Florida, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Paypal’s Braintree have waived their fees so that every dollar donated to the Florida Disaster Fund goes directly to helping victims. Updates on closures, inventory supply, and supply chain information are consistently being updated at FloridaDisaster.Biz/CurrentDisasterUpdates.

“The DeSantis Administration has laid the groundwork for our partnership with private-sector businesses to help deliver assistance to Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian, and I am grateful to First Lady Casey DeSantis for spearheading this initiative,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle. “The critical updates we receive from our partners on our daily private-sector calls are invaluable and help us continue to keep Floridians informed on FloridaDisaster.biz/CurrentDisasterUpdates.”

Businesses offering services and assistance for Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian include:

  • Publix Supermarkets – Publix has delivered more than 700 truckloads of water equal to almost a million cases, delivered more than 3 million pounds of ice, and is storing double inventory volumes. Prior to closing stores impacted by the storm, Publix donated perishable products to local police, firefighters, and emergency response teams, and also ensured that associates that work nearby and prepare these stores for the storm received donated products for themselves and their families. Publix associates have diligently taken care of their customers, communities, and each other.
  • Walmart – Walmart has activated Disaster Displacement Assistance for impacted associates to assist them in evacuating to safety. Walmart Transportation has positioned 400 drivers in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia to support recovery efforts. Walmart and Sam’s Club have pushed more than $23 million in additional water and disaster-related merchandise ahead of the storm, including over 660 truckloads of additional water and disaster-related merchandise ahead of the storm.  A public-facing map showing store and club closures that updates in real-time has been published at Hurricane Ian Facility Status (walmart.com).
  • Lowe’s Home Improvement – Lowe’s continues to have stores open in counties not directly impacted by Hurricane Ian to receive storm and recovery-related products, such as generators, water, gas cans, sand, plywood, batteries, flashlights, and other materials. Additionally, 30 fuel trucks are staged at Lowe’s store locations for re-entry after the storm. Lowe’s is leveraging its vast supply chain network to bring much-needed response products into the state. 
  • Uber Technology – Private-sector partner, Uber, is offering round-trip rides to and from Southwest Florida shelter locations in Orange, Brevard, Seminole, Volusia, and Osceola counties listed at www.FloridaDisaster.org/PlanPrepare/Shelters. Riders can enter promotional code IANRELIEF in the app to redeem a free round-trip up to $30 each way. Rides must be requested to or from any state-approved evacuation shelter in Florida.
  • U-Haul International, Inc. – As families evacuate, U-Haul is offering 30 days of free storage and U-Box container usage at 43 Florida locations. Find additional information at www.uhaul.com/about/ listed under “Top Stories.”
  • Expedia – VISIT Florida has activated the Emergency Accommodations Portal at Expedia.com/Florida with the latest available hotel listings. Expedia reached out encouraging their partners to waive cancellation fees and to waive pet restrictions.
  • Rosen Hotels & Resorts – Rosen Hotels and Resorts is activating their Florida Residents Distressed Rates to give Floridians a safe, affordable place to ride out Hurricane Ian. Evacuees can call 866-33-ROSEN (76736) to reserve a room.
  • AT&T – AT&T is waiving talk, text, and data overage charges for AT&T Postpaid & PREPAID customers with billing addresses in 828 zip codes across Florida from September 28, 2022, through October 28, 2022, to keep customers connected during and after the storm event.
  • Target – Target is working quickly to ensure its team members are safe and is mobilizing its supply chain to fast-track critical supplies to Target stores. Target is also working with its team members, guests, and regional partners in the coming days to help ensure that all communities impacted by Hurricane Ian have the resources they need to support recovery and rebuilding.
  • Charter Communications – Charter Communications has opened Spectrum Out-of-Home WiFi access points in response to Hurricane Ian. Spectrum WiFi access points are typically found in public parks, marinas, city streets and other public areas. A map of access points is available at spectrum.com/internet/wifi-access-points.
  • Anheuser-Busch – Anheuser-Busch has coordinated seven trucks – more than 360,000 cans – of emergency drinking water in response to Hurricane Ian.

For more information on services available from private partners and updates on business closures throughout the state of Florida, visit www.FloridaDisaster.biz/CurrentDisasterUpdates.

The Florida Disaster Fund is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to provide financial assistance to our communities as they respond to and recover from times of emergency or disaster. In partnership with public, private, and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities. To contribute, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.

Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund are made to the Volunteer Florida Foundation, 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and are tax-deductible. Donations may be made by credit card on the secure website www.floridadisasterfund.org or by check to the below address.

Checks should be made payable to the Volunteer Florida Foundation and should include “Florida Disaster Fund” in the memo line.

Volunteer Florida Foundation
Attention: Florida Disaster Fund
1545 Raymond Diehl Road Suite 250
Tallahassee, FL 32308

  • I think it’s just wonderful that these companies and people have given this much money to help victims of Ian this quickly. God bless them for their kindness and generosity.

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