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Hope after Hurricane Ian: Cajun Navy Ground Force serving thousands of families in need in Southwest Florida

One month after Hurricane Ian, disaster response nonprofit Cajun Navy Ground Force has served 80,000 hot meals and distributed more than $10 million in relief supplies to hurricane-battered communities in Southwest Florida.

Founded in 2016, the nationally recognized organization responds to the aftermath of major disasters across the U.S. including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Florence and Michael. The Cajun Navy Ground Force mobilizes a team of support to deploy to communities in crisis and organize emergency services, supplies and resources to families in need.

Within 24 hours of Ian’s devastating landfall, the Cajun Navy Ground Force led search and rescue efforts across Fort Myers Beach and hard-hit neighborhoods, followed by weeks of disaster relief efforts from North Fort Myers to Pine Island. Serving the most vulnerable hurricane-affected areas, Cajun Navy Ground Force quickly established its first SAFE (Swift Action Force Emergency) Camp distribution site at the corner of Pondella Road and US-41 in North Fort Myers. After several weeks of distributing emergency supplies, the organization moved operations to Pine Island as its SAFE Camp command center, dedicated to assisting survivors with disaster relief services, resources and supplies. The SAFE Camp is located in the parking lot of Miraculous Medal Church at 12175 Stringfellow Road in Bokeelia.

Since Sept. 29, the result of ongoing response and relief efforts include:

  • 18,000 families served
  • 1,600 volunteers
  • $10 million worth of supplies distributed
  • 80,000 hot meals served
  • 350 wellness checks, medical visits
  • 50 damaged homes cleaned

“Devastation like this can become overwhelming for survivors who don’t know who can help or where to even start with cleanup,” said Founder Rob Gaudet of Cajun Navy Ground Force. “There are still hundreds of elderly residents who have not been helped so now more than ever, it’s important we continue doing everything in our power to fulfill those critical long-term needs throughout recovery.”

With more than 80 open ticket requests and counting, Cajun Navy Ground Force continues to see an influx of residents still needing help with cleanup from damage to their homes. The organization is seeking volunteers to assist with a variety of services as they continue relief efforts on Pine Island. To become a volunteer, people can sign up online at Volunteer.GoCajunNavy.org.

Dedicated to long-term recovery needs, the organization is seeking sponsors, grants and gifts of monetary donations to continue relief efforts in Southwest Florida. Donate online at Give.GoCajunNavy.org. For more information on sponsorship, contact Partnership Director Camille Domnigue at 337-258-0572 or camille@gocajunnavy.org.

To learn more about Cajun Navy Ground Force, visit GoCajunNavy.org and follow on Facebook for daily posts and updates at Facebook.com/GoCajunNavy.

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