Communities Caring: St. Stephen’s, Wyandotte & St. Michael’s and All Angels, Lincoln Park partner to bring relief to hard hit communities after Hurricane Ian
October 18, 2022
Before Rev. Tom Ferguson headed down to Fort Myers, Florida to get repairs started on a condo he owns there. He reached out to St. Hilary’s Episcopal Church, Ft. Myers, to see what he could bring down from Michigan that would be helpful after Hurricane Ian hit earlier this month. St. Hilary’s sent a list. After publicizing Tom’s effort on their Facebook page and through their email lists, two days later, people from St. Stephen’s, Wyandotte and St. Michael’s and All Angels, Lincoln Park donated enough to completely fill Tom’s Ford Explorer; and that included a generator and over $300 in cash donations!
On Tuesday, October 11 Tom, along with his daughter Paige, reached St. Hilary’s and one of the hardest hit communities in Fort Myers; Harlem Heights. The Heights is a low income community where most family incomes are below poverty level. The homes in the neighborhood were completely flooded and all contents of the homes were lost and piled up on the front lawns.
“Who knows when the debris will be removed. There are mountains of debris lining each side of the streets. The homes will require significant repair and will take a very long time,” says the Rev. Tom Ferguson after seeing first hand the destruction caused by Hurricane Ian to Harlem Heights, a neighborhood in Fort Myers, FL.
The Heights Community Center is likely the place where most of the donations that St. Stephen’s and St. Michael’s All Angels will end up. The Center is keeping the community going by providing food, water, and household necessities. They have partnered with other organizations that are donating hot food and free medical care, and are providing social services to local families, including assistance with insurance and FEMA paperwork.
Due to the damage caused by the Hurricane, many businesses have had to close, which means many people have lost their jobs. The Center is working to provide rental and utility assistance.
St. Hilary’s is working closely with The Center to help begin the clean up efforts in The Heights and surrounding areas by clearing debris, tearing out damaged walls in homes, tarping roofs and more. But, they still need help and welcome anyone who is interested in assisting with these efforts.