Reflections on Hurricane Irma

Olivia Blase

On the tail ends of Hurricane Irma, many of us – especially in Central Florida – are thankful for restored power, clean yards and normal grocery shopping experiences. Our prayers still go out to those in our state who are facing long-term and devastating challenges because of Hurricane Irma. We are also praying for and contributing to those in the Caribbean who have been affected by both Hurricanes Irma and Maria. 

In the midst of continued prayers and concern for loved ones, we want to take moments to thank God for what He has done in our communities in Hurricane Irma's wake. Despite great hardship for many, He united us in incredible ways to love and serve each other and those in our community. Reflect on the week post-Irma with us! 

Serving as an emergency shelter 
On Monday morning, the Emergency Operation Center of Seminole County asked if we could open our doors as a shelter for those displaced from their homes due to Irma. On Tuesday we started welcoming guests into our make-shift shelter in The Rink. Thanks to the team of amazing volunteers and staff, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and the Red Cross, more than 140 mostly special needs guests were cared for between Tuesday and Monday morning. The week was an inspiring picture of community. Not only did staff and volunteer bond with the residents, but we got to watch as they built friendships with one another. 

Serving a cookout to our community 
On Wednesday, the power was still out for many in our community. So we fired up the mobile kitchen to host a community lunch for more than 1,200 people! We served all the hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and buns we could find in the area, as well as pasta and drinks. It was a great time of food, AC and getting together with neighbors! 

Serving at our special Hurricane Irma Clean-up Serve Day 
For many of us, cleanup of our homes and neighborhoods started on Monday. As people started to call Northland for help, teams started going out by Tuesday to help clean up large trees and debris. By Thursday, the amount of need was so large that we decided to host an impromptu Serve Day! With less than 48 hours notice, more than 250 of you covered our communities and served our neighbors. Dozens and dozens of families were helped and experienced this outpouring of love.
We captured a few of the stories from the serve day — don't miss Joe and Kathy's!

Thank you to all of our volunteers, staff and those of you who donated and just showed up. We love our family!