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Hurricane Ian Gratitude

Belle Glade Hurricane Ian cleanup b 1

Natural disasters can bring out the best in people. We have so much gratitude for the many individuals and organizations who stepped up immediately with cash and in-kind donations for emergency relief and for those inspiring donors that have made a long-term commitment to help our families, communities and staff rebuild stronger than ever.

After assessing the state of our 65 child development centers, two charter schools and state office in Immokalee, we realized that our operations, staff, families and communities in DeSoto and Hardee counties were hit the hardest. Flooding and high winds temporarily closed five of our centers and left many people, including RCMA staff, homeless.

We first reached out to people and organizations that helped us after Hurricane Irma in 2017, knowing they had water, food, baby formula, diapers, and cleaning supplies. We also invited politicians and community leaders to tour our facilities, see the damage and understand what resources were needed.

The Tzu Chi Foundation – which helped us after Hurricane Charley and Hurricane Irma – generously stepped forward again to provide debit cards ranging from $800 to $1,200 per family as well as a blanket made of recycled water bottles and a piggy bank to encourage recipients to “pay it forward” and help others. About 40 Tzu Chi volunteers from Miami, Orlando and even Houston and Los Angeles spent a Saturday in Arcadia to meet with RCMA families and community members.

“Our principal is to help people in need directly,” said Paul Lin, Volunteer Director from the Miami office. “In Buddhism, we think about the special affinity that brings us together. RCMA led us to the victims.” Paul said the Tzu Chi volunteers were grateful to have the opportunity to help people as that is part of their mission. It was also a reminder to treasure their blessings that they had not been impacted by the disaster.

Marilyn Santiago not only volunteered her time, she helped amplify the need by arranging for WINK News television to do a story at and about our center and families in need.

Hurricane support came in all ways. Smile Foundation donated several hundred pounds of rice. One More Child gave us a truckload of bananas. Feeding Florida delivered all kinds of food.

Other organizations helped us by warehousing supplies that were donated, sending nonperishable food and hot meals, providing volunteers for clean-up and debris removal at our centers, offering free health and mental health services, assisting people applying for federal disaster relief, arranging for and visiting shelters, loaning tools, and more.

And dozens of individuals contributed much-needed financial support to help our families with emergency assistance funds for housing, transportation, utility payments, replacement of household items destroyed by the storm, and so much more. Thanks especially to Save the Children for donating $100,000 to hurricane victims.

We thank these Hurricane Ian supporters, a list that continues to grow:

  • Adventist Community Services
  • All Hands and Hearts
  • American Baptist Churches
  • American Red Cross
  • Aviation Group
  • Baptist Disaster League
  • Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
  • Brothers 2 Brothers
  • CN Supply
  • Cajun Navy Ground Force
  • Church of Scientology
  • Church World Services
  • Civil Air Patrol
  • Coalition of Immokalee Workers
  • Collier Community Foundation
  • Community Foundation of Tampa Bay
  • CORE Community Organized Relief Effort
  • Crisis Clean Up
  • Disaster Aide USA
  • Disaster Distress Helpline Vibrant Emotional Health
  • Florida Immigrant Coalition
  • FL VOAD, United Church of Christ Florida Conference
  • Feeding Florida
  • Feed the Need
  • Feeding the Gulf Coast
  • Feeding Tampa Bay
  • Fill the Needs
  • Flip Flop Flotilla
  • Florida A&M College
  • Florida Rising
  • Food Source
  • Florida Baptist Disaster Send Relief
  • Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association
  • Florida Gateway
  • Florida United Methodist Conference
  • Friends of Disabled Adults and Children
  • Global Emergency Mission
  • Good 360
  • Habitat for Humanity Disaster Corps
  • HealthCare Ready
  • Hers
  • Hispanic Federation
  • HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response
  • Islamic Relief
  • Jen Mitchell
  • Lacey Brown Specialties
  • Leadership Collier Foundation Class of 22
  • King Jesus Ministries
  • Latter Day Saints Charities
  • Legal Services of North Florida
  • LIFT Local Initiative
  • Mercy Chefs
  • Miami Foundation
  • MidWest Food Bank
  • Next Level Church
  • One Child
  • Operation BBQ Relief
  • Operation Blessing
  • Operation HOPE
  • Polk county ESF 15
  • Presbyterian-FLAPDAN
  • Rocks, Stones and Moorings
  • Rotary NE Florida
  • Samaritan’s Purse
  • Save the Children
  • SBA Business Recovery Center
  • SBP
  • Second Harvest
  • State EOC
  • Team (King) Jesus Ministries
  • Team Rubicon
  • Toolbank
  • Tzu Chi Foundation
  • United Church of Christ
  • United Nations Chaplins Association
  • United Rescue Alliance
  • United Sikhs
  • United Way of Northeast Florida
  • Unity in Disasters
  • Volunteer Florida

Click here to help RCMA families with ongoing needs related to Hurricane Ian.