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First Lady Casey DeSantis Announces Nearly $35 Million in Donations for the Florida Disaster Fund

Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced that within the first 5 days of activation, the Florida Disaster Fund has raised nearly $35 million in donations to support communities impacted by Hurricane Ian. To contribute, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.

“The support for Florida has been incredible and the Governor and I are appreciative for help from across the country,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “As we’ve traveled the state to assess damage, we’ve encountered resilient and strong Floridians who are ready to get back to normal. This $35 million will help with those recovery and rebuilding efforts.”

Major donations include a generous donation of $5 million from Charles Schwab. Other major donations from across the state and the nation include:

  • ABC Fine Wine and Spirits
  • Age of Learning
  • AirBnB
  • Amazon
  • American Express
  • Assurant Foundation
  • BlackRock
  • Boeing
  • Braman Motors
  • Capital Funding Group
  • CareSource
  • Centene Charitable Foundation
  • Charlie Johnson Family Foundation
  • Chemours
  • Charles Schwab
  • Comcast
  • CSX
  • CVS
  • DentaQuest
  • Duke Energy
  • Fairwinds
  • Fidelity
  • Florida Manufactured Housing Association
  • Florida Bankers Association
  • Florida Blue
  • Florida Power & Light
  • Goldman Sachs
  • HCA Healthcare
  • Hit Promotional Products
  • HORNE
  • Ian MacKechnie
  • International Game Technology
  • J.M. Family Enterprises
  • John Childs
  • Joseph W. Craft III Foundation
  • Ken Griffin
  • L3 Harris Foundation
  • Lennar
  • LifeSciene Logistics
  • Lynn & Foster Friess Family Foundation
  • Microsoft
  • Mike Repole
  • Molina Healthcare
  • National Christian Foundation
  • Nelson Peltz
  • Nomi Health
  • Peter Morse Foundation
  • PGA Tour
  • Publix
  • RaceTrac
  • Ralph Korpman
  • Robert Bigelow
  • Rom Reddy
  • Rumble
  • Santander
  • Simply Healthcare
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Suncoast Credit Union
  • TECO
  • The Valspar Championship
  • Uber
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • Verizon
  • Vystar
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart
  • Wawa
  • Wells Fargo

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. To partner with the state on recovery efforts or to find updates on closures, inventory supply, and supply chain information, visit: FloridaDisaster.Biz/CurrentDisasterUpdates.

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

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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 product 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 – The Lowe’s Command Center remains in full activation to support stores impacted by Hurricane Ian, moving more than 1000 trucks into impact zones, and continues to move much-needed response and recovery product, such as generators, water, gas cans, sand, plywood, batteries, flashlights, and other materials. All Lowe’s stores in Florida are now open; opening and closing hours are being monitored to ensure the safety of associates and customers. Additionally, Lowe’s has committed $2 million to support disaster relief efforts for associates, customers and communities in Florida. Funding will assist Lowe’s disaster relief partners and nonprofit Pro customers, helping these organizations and others provide critical relief and recovery supplies.

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.

Airbnb – AirBnB has launched a website to help Hurricane Ian Relocation efforts for impacted residents at Airbnb.com/hurricaneianflorida.  The page features open properties that are available to be booked outside of the FEMA Disaster zones.  As communities become fully restored with water and electricity, Airbnb will add more open properties to Airbnb.com/hurricaneianflorida. Also, for any displaced residents, Airbnb is working with their nonprofit partners to offer vouchers for temporary housing at Airbnb properties.  To learn more about how the voucher program works, see Airbnb’s full press release at  https://news.airbnb.com/airbnb-org-hurricane-relief-efforts/.

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.

Xfinity – Comcast has opened Xfinity WiFi hotspots in Central, North and Southwest Florida, and the Panhandle for Xfinity customers and non-customers to stay connected during and after the storm. Details are available at Florida.Comcast.com/2022/09/27/comcast-opens-free-xfinity-wifi-hotspot-network-as-hurricane-ian-approaches/.

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.

  • To assist the recovery, AT&T is now welcoming other carriers’ customers to roam on AT&T networks so they can connect, even if their carrier’s service isn’t available after the storm. Once this roaming begins, customers will automatically be connected to AT&T network.
  • At this time, only four AT&T store locations in Sarasota, Naples, Port Charlotte, and Venice are closed. All other store locations in the impacted area and around the state are open and ready to address customer needs.

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.

Wawa Convenience Stores & Gas Stations –Wawa has made a $500,000 donation to the Florida Disaster Fund to help aid in recovery efforts. Wawa stores in Florida are providing free coffee and fountain beverages to all first responders in Florida, including police, fire, EMT and the National Guard for all they are doing to support and serve our communities during Hurricane Ian response and recovery efforts.

Amazon – Amazon has activated its Disaster Relief Hub, a special warehouse in Atlanta where the company prepositions over 1 million relief items most needed when a disaster strikes; loaded 10 trucks with over 360,000 bottles of water and strategically prepositioned the vehicles around Florida and in other southern U.S. states to quickly deliver clean water to impacted communities; and, reserved a parking lot at one of its Jacksonville, Florida, facilities to allow the American Red Cross to park up to 75 trailers to transport relief items as they’re needed. Amazon furthered their donations by sending 36 palets of bottled water to Lee County Schools.

Previously, Amazon has coordinated with us and emergency responders throughout Florida in numerous ways, including the following, and we are coordinating with them again on further deployments of generous and needed resources throughout the state:

  • 695,504 bottles of water-  More than 27 Truckloads donated to the American Red Cross, Good 360, Lee County Public Schools, and other local efforts in across SW Florida.
  • 3,000 Meals Ready to Eat to our JAX nodes
  • 5 Truckloads of snacks to Feeding America which will serve 4 food banks in the area
  • $10,000 in Amazon Gift Cards to International Medical Corps to procure generators
  • 20k boxes to Feeding Tampa Foodbank
  • 1,826 crib-sheets to the American Red Cross
  • Approximately 12,000 tarps to Good360, American Red Cross and International Medical Corps
  • Contribution to World Central Kitchen to aid in standing up three free hot meal lunch sites in Cape coral, Fort Myers and Punta Gorda
  • Amazon has also provided space for up to 75 trailers at our JAX nodes to be used as a staging location for organizations, as they assess the right location to move relief items to.

T-Mobile – T-Mobile has four Community Support Trucks loaded with supplies including chargers, charging cords and cell phones, as well as three wi-fi trailers with the ability to charge up to 80 phones each, along with Wi-Fi. These assets are staged just outside of the impact area and will be deployed as soon as it is safe to do so. Most T-Mobile customers are on plans with unlimited talk, text, and data, for those who aren’t, T-Mobile continues to offer unlimited talk, text, and data starting September 28 through October 7 for those most impacted by the storm.  Text to Give opportunities are also available and the most updated information from T-Mobile can be found at https://www.t-mobile.com/news/community/hurricane-ian.

Verizon – Verizon residential and small business customers in affected ZIP codes impacted by Hurricane Ian will have access to unlimited domestic Talk, Text & Data through October 4, 2022. Click here to see eligible zip codes. Verizon Wireless’ crisis response team will also provide free communications support to public safety agencies responding to the hurricane, setting up portable cell sites, Wi-Fi hotspots, free charging stations and other services.

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

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