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Wednesday, July 17, 2024
HomeAt Home & BeyondCollections Underway for Hurricane Supply Drive

Collections Underway for Hurricane Supply Drive

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Local help agencies are doing their part to ensure that the people of Hernando will be well-prepared for what is predicted to be a tumultuous storm season.

The Hurricane Supply Drive, co-hosted by Hernando County Emergency Management and United Way of Hernando County, runs throughout the 2024 hurricane season (June through November). All items will be distributed back to the community through mitigation and ongoing response efforts.

The official hashtag for this drive is #HernandoPrepares, with administrators accepting donations of batteries (all sizes), cleaning supplies, dish and hand soap, toiletry items, matches/lighters, small toolkits, toilet paper/paper towels, manual can openers, non-perishable foods (such as canned goods, dry pasta, and rice), gallon/bottled water, garbage bags (all sizes), wet wipes and flashlights.

United Way Executive Director/CEO Angie Bonfardino-Walasek believes that this drive is integral to United Way’s ongoing efforts to prepare Hernando residents for hurricane season. “Our United Way office actually serves as a year-round collection site for hurricane supply items, toiletries, and non-perishable foods for the homeless and underserved,” she said.

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The past drives have yielded bountiful, valuable collections of supplies that were instrumental in our community’s resilience during previous storms. Your donations, no matter how small, have made a significant difference.

“Thanks to the successful Hurricane Supply Drive we hosted back in the early summer of 2023, once Hernando’s Family Resource Center (FRC) was activated in response to September’s Hurricane Idalia, your United Way team was able to easily provide families in Hernando Beach & Weeki Wachee who were impacted and in need of basic items (cleaning supplies, toiletries, batteries, toilet paper, clean socks!” said
Walasek.

In organizing the 2024 collection drive, administrators are making special requests for select items that are greatly needed this year, including flashlights, bleach, batteries, and wet wipes/Clorox Wipes.

“There are no new items listed; however, flashlights, bleach, batteries, and wet wipes/Clorox Wipes are the most popular and needed items for distribution,” said Walasek. Collected items can be dropped off at United Way, 4028 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call (352) 688-2026.

“We also play a heavy role when it comes to the distribution of items, as well as resources and disaster preparedness services to our homeless and underserved populations here in Hernando,” said Walasek.

Walasek sees hurricane preparedness as essential. “With working as closely as our United Way does with Hernando County Emergency Management, we have the opportunity of seeing firsthand just how critical awareness and preparedness is,” said Walasek. “Living in Florida, and for those who live close to the Gulf or on the river, experience this every season. The warnings. The watches. The waiting. Often never being impacted (thank goodness). Because of this, we fear as a community that some may experience “storm fatigue” and assume that this season will be just like the rest, and not evacuate, or not prepare and take precautions.”

Walasek has a simple but important message for these and other Hernando residents. “We are on a constant mission to raise awareness – “Know Your Home, Know Your Zone” – as Emergency Management would say,” she said. “We direct anyone and everyone to Hernando’s Disaster Preparedness Guide https://www.hernandocounty.us/departments/departments-a-e/emergency-management. Hard copies can be picked up at participating businesses, including our United Way of Hernando County office.”

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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