On Saturday morning, October 1, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints volunteered in the areas worst hit by Hurricane Ian.

Their attempts to clean up, which have been hindered by flooded streets, power outages, inconsistent mobile phone coverage, and other impediments, are just the beginning of what is likely to be several weeks of response work.

Hurricanes’ powerful winds may cause significant damage, but this particular storm also produced severe storm surge and rainfall, which caused rivers, canals, and lakes to overflow and cause damage to roads, bridges, and buildings.

On Saturday, portions of Interstate 75 in Florida were flooded, necessitating longer detours for some Church members heading south to the places most in need of assistance and cleanup.

“Our hearts go out to those who have lost so much, and in some cases virtually everything,” said Elder Victor P. Patrick, Seventieth Area. Compared to what our neighbors have endured, our service feels like a minor sacrifice.

Early Saturday morning, before to general conference, members of the Naples Florida Stake came to assist in Fort Meyers, one of the hardest-hit communities. They completed household tasks and distributed water bottles and hygiene packages.

Natalie Rodriguez, assistant director of communication for the stake, made one of these contributions to Lutheran Services Florida — Comprehensive Refugee Services.

“The nearby Lutheran church required water and hygiene materials urgently. “We gladly accommodated their request,” Rodriguez stated.

Crews cleared homes of garbage and tree limbs, fixed rain gutters, and cleaned floors.

Elder Patrick observed, “Seeing the light of restored hope and sincere thankfulness in so many eyes is its own reward.” These catastrophe relief activities, undertaken by us and so many others, exemplify the Savior’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Local officials will continue to assess requirements throughout anticipated response activities lasting many weeks. The Church has welcomed other religions to collaborate with it.

JustServe.org is a resource for community volunteers seeking for opportunities to assist in their local community.

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