Folks in Michiana are stepping up to support those impacted by Ian

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 6:40 PM EDT
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(WNDU) - Now more than ever, folks in Michiana are stepping up to help those dealing with Ian’s destruction in Florida.

We’ve seen images of this damage ever since Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon.

Viewrail in Goshen saw the impact this hurricane had on their warehouse in Punta Gorda, just outside of Fort Meyers, and they know they’re not the only ones going through this.

Ian’s winds were strong enough to knock over one of Viewrail’s box trucks they have at their warehouse in Florida.

They sent us another picture showing the damage to that building. You can see the corner of the wall coming apart near the garage.

The Chief Leadership Officer at Viewrail told 16 News Now their first priority was to check and ensure their employees were safe, and then their minds turned to everyone else who fell in the path of Ian.

Friday, all day from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., they’re collecting hygiene essentials, diapers, pet food, cleaning supplies, bleach, rags, baby necessities, and bottled water.

You can drop them off at 1010 Eisenhower Dr. South, Goshen, IN.

They’ll ship off to Florida communities that need them on Saturday.

“We have regular trucks going back and forth at least on a weekly basis. And the thought process was let’s have a dedicated truck loaded with the necessary supplies that could be really in jeopardy for a lot of people down there,” said The Chief Leadership Officer at Viewrail Troy Burns.

Mishawaka Utilities workers are also some of the folks from Michiana making a difference as these communities try to rebuild. Four linemen and two trucks made it down to the Alabama/Florida border Thursday morning and are standing by as they wait for more instruction on where their help is needed.

They’ll work alongside local utility companies to rebuild power lines, and other critical infrastructure knocked out by the strong winds, rain, and flooding.

“We want to make sure that we’re a good citizen, obviously here in Mishawaka and in the state of Indiana, but Florida is a part of our broader nation,” said Mishawaka Utilities Executive Director of Development/Govt. Affairs Matthew Lentsch.

The Indiana Municipal Electric Association reached out to Mishawaka Utilities to provide support with Mutual Aid efforts.

We’re also already hearing about the loss of life coming from some of the communities on Florida’s western shore, and just because the storm is moving away from the hardest hit areas, that doesn’t mean everyone is safe.

With power and internet outages affecting millions down south, many of their essential services have to close up shop. This includes blood banks and blood donation centers.

Collection organizations only had about one to two days’ worth of blood heading into the storm, and the storm damage will make it difficult for them to collect any more in Florida.

The South Bend Medical Foundation is one of the places in our area where you can donate blood to add to our national supply.

As the need down south continues to grow, your blood donation could very well save a life.

“If you look at Florida, where they’ve had to cancel blood drives, close down blood centers, and not know when they are going to be able to open back up, that is a lot of blood that they’re not going to be able to collect that they would have been collecting these past few days,” SBMF Blood Donor Recruitment Supervisor Mary Ankrapp.

Other blood centers in our area include:

Versiti Blood Center of Michigan in Benton Harbor

Elkhart General Blood Donor Center

South Bend Medical Foundation