The good folks at FMB (Fort Myers Beach) Strong have been there, done that. Ho-hum.
But not really. In fact, some of them are still “doing that”—living in temporary lodgings after Hurricane Ian roared ashore pushing 150-mph winds and a 15-foot storm surge that left more than 1,000 homes and apartments unlivable last September.
“Every single person on our team lost our homes and everything we own in the storm,” says Heidi Jungwirth, disaster relief manager with FMB Strong.
Heidi and her husband live in a trailer home, donated to them after Hurricane Ian washed theirs away. “Our team members have been through it all, so we know the heartbreak, the challenges, and the pain.”
FMB Strong provides supplies, food, and donations to individuals affected by Hurricane Ian.
“Some folks may have lost everything, they may be living in tents, or they may need help with clearing debris from their property,” Heide says. “When we’re not throwing cases of water around and stocking shelves at our temporary warehouse, we’re out in the community helping those people. They’re our neighbors. We’re just survivors helping survivors.”
The non-profit organization was formed by Tim Ryan, co-owner of Island Park Golf Rental FMB within days after the storm. Tim’s business was a total loss, but the warehouse was still standing, which he turned into a distribution center. By Oct. 1, relief supplies were already rolling in.
FMB Strong also:
- Provides food and water as well as miscellaneous supplies to those in need, such as clothing, protective gear, cooking supplies, cleaning products, baby care items, and more.
- Sends vital resources to other community relief organizations.
- Makes sure donations reach the most recipients in need.
- Supports Hurricane Ian relief efforts through various community events.
- Collaborates with local restaurants to provide meals, organize fundraisers, and participate in town celebrations, all aimed at fostering unity and resilience in our community.
Heidi says Healthy Lee connected FMB Strong with the Fort Myers Homeless Coalition to provide survivors with housing assistance. Heidi adds, “We also provided people with behavioral and mental health resources by connecting them with Project Hope’s disaster recovery support group and also with Park Royal Hospital.
Everybody’s needs are 100 percent different,” she says. “Some people are still without power and so many don’t have access to water because they’re living in campers and tents. The need for water is always great. Folks know they can come to the warehouse in the heat of the day to cool off, charge their phone, and just be.”
According to Heidi, since October the organization has distributed more than a half million pounds of food, three million dollars in goods, 600 shop vacuums, 600 power washers, 400 generators, countless mops, rakes, broom, tools, and enduring hope.
The organization partners with Harry Chapin Foodbank, Midwest Food Bank, Mission Community Church, Women’s Club of FMB, The Freedom Tour, among other relief organizations.
FMB Strong operates through a grant, monetary donations, and volunteer efforts. Among its donors is the King Family Foundation.
More fundraising events are in the works, including a Labor Day 5k run/walk on Fort Myers Beach. For more information about the event, visit BeachTalkRadio, another partner of FMB Strong.
Healthy Lee was created to empower and inspire the people of Lee County to live healthier, more active lives. Healthy Lee partners with community leaders and organizations to identify needs in our communities and develop solutions that honor a shared vision to improve our wellness—body, mind, and spirit.