Florida - Hurricane Response and Recovery

Florida St. Albans Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida

Immediately after the storm with support from Episcopal Relief & Development, the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida provided critical assistance to those hit hardest by Hurricane Irma, including migrant workers, homeless individuals, seniors, youth, children and families who were displaced from communities that were devastated. The most vulnerable residents received emergency food and water, bedding as well as personal hygiene items. Church partners are deeply embedded in these communities which enables them to both identify and best serve those most in need.

In the Florida Keys, some residents live on boats year-round. After Hurricane Irma flooded the Florida Keys, boats were left underwater. In Boot Key Harbor in the city of Marathon, church partners removed a number of these boats from the water and returned them to their owners. As a result, many residents were able to reclaim their homes and begin the recovery process.

As part of long-term recovery plans, the diocese is providing temporary trailers for individuals and families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Irma. The diocese is planning to hire a part-time recovery coordinator to manage ongoing response efforts in the months ahead.

Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

After the storm first hit, Episcopal Relief & Development sent emergency support to the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida. This assistance helped the diocese coordinate initial relief efforts with local congregations by providing food and other essential support.

St. Matthew’s provided healthy food and other support through its local community partners. The East Learning Community Center, which serves 37 public schools in East Orange County, was able to stock their food pantry to feed 5,000 families for several months. In the Washington Shores neighborhood of Orlando, the Central Care Mission Community Garden received assistance to purchase wood, hardware, plants and garden supplies to rebuild the garden which feeds 300 families from their garden and serves as a training resource. On Sundays, Good News Breakfast, jointly by Central Care Mission and several local churches, feeds a local homeless population of approximately 150 people. Episcopal Relief & Development and church partners supported local ministries that fed over 2,000 people. In West Melbourne, the diocese also partnered with Holy Trinity Episcopal Church to cover the costs of critical supplies and additional staff at Hearts and Hands, a group home for developmentally disabled women.

The diocese centralized its relief efforts for residents of Puerto Rico displaced by Hurricane Maria by expanding the food pantry at Iglesia Episcopal Jesus de Nazaret (Episcopal Church of Jesus of Nazareth). This Orlando-based church, considered the nucleus of Latino ministries within the diocese, is ensuring that culturally appropriate foods are being provided to displaced families and individuals. Long-term needs continue to be assessed.

Go back to 2017 Hurricane Response page


Resources

Disasters Can Teach the Church Lessons About How to Respond in the Future, Episcopal News Service

Florida Keys parishioners welcome Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to their hurricane-torn churches, Episcopal News Service

Press Releases and Web Statements

What Can I Do to Help?