Hurricane Ian: Local humanitarian efforts started after the storm


Hurricane Ian swept through the state, causing flooding and destruction in many areas.

After Category 4 Hurricane Ian blew through Florida in late September, areas throughout the state were left flooded and destroyed by “one of the worst storms to ever hit Florida.” Thousands of Floridians were displaced from their homes and left without shelter, basic necessities, or assurance of their loved ones’ safety.

Those who avoided the significant damage from Ian sprang into action to provide support for those who weren’t as fortunate. While Jacksonville remained relatively untouched by the storm outside of coastal flooding, its citizens were quick to take action, with countless local organizations, businesses, schools, and individuals contributing to relief funds around the city.

At Bolles, Saylor Swartz ‘25 founded a supplies drive to provide aid to those in Fort Myers who were impacted by the hurricane. “I’m from Fort Myers, I was born there, so I have friends and family and everything there. That was very scary, the whole night when it hit, and the next morning, was still scary,” Swartz said, “We had to make sure [my dad’s] employees were alive and accounted for and their families were okay.”

While her family made trips back-and-forth to Fort Myers with supplies for employees, Swartz wanted to help. “I just knew I wanted to help out somehow, so I asked my dad if I could get a bunch of stuff that would be helpful, just some supplies that would help. I texted some of my friends down there and asked what they thought people needed, “Swartz explained, “they kind of listed the things that I asked people for, like toiletries and stuff and they talked about how they knew some of their friends and people who needed some of this.”

Swartz collected bags full of items after the drive at Bolles
Photo Credit: Saylor Swartz

Swartz set out bins around campus, sent out a message on Schoology, and waited. A week later, she collected bins full of water, food, toiletries and clothes that she brought to those who needed them through friends in the area. “I was very pleased with how successful it was. I put out a few bins around campus and a few days later, I was getting all this stuff. I was very pleasantly surprised.”

Outside of Bolles, local organizations have been contributing to various humanitarian relief efforts to help those impacted by Ian. From churches and schools to businesses and restaurants located around Jacksonville, many people have been pitching in to help with drives and donations.

Overall, the hurricane caused members of the community to come together and in efforts to help those all across the state impacted by the storm, whether donating money or items in person or through drives, working together to rejuvinate the state.