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Donations for those impacted by Hurricane Ian pour into Sarasota County sites

Large room with hurricane donation items
Cathy Carter
WUSF Public Media
Grace Community Church on Bee Ridge road in Sarasota County is the distribution site for donated items for those impacted by Hurricane Ian

Community members are encouraged to donate supplies for families in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

At Grace Community Church on Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota, volunteers unload supplies from cars while others inside organize donated items.

Inside the hall were huge piles of pillows and blankets, stacks of boxed diapers and cases of peanut butter, among many other items.

Gaby Lodeiro,, of Sarasota, says she and a few friends went shopping and then filled up a car, loaded of supplies.

"You know you see these people and it’s just heartbreaking," she said. "They've lost everything. You see families, babies, the elderly. Anything we can do to help than we should do it. We should come together as a community and do it."

As her car was being unpacked, Lodeiro asked a volunteer if they needed any help inside with sorting. They did. So, she parked her car, grabbed a name tag and got to work.

Bennett and Kieran Shaw of Lakewood Ranch help sort donated items at Grace Community Church
Cathy Carter
Bennett and Kieran Shaw of Lakewood Ranch help sort donated items at Grace Community Church

Those who want to help with Hurricane Ian relief efforts can drop off donations at more than half a dozen sites in Sarasota County.

Items will be distributed to families affected by flooding in North Port and other communities in South Sarasota County as well as in hard hit Fort Myers.

Chris Pedro is a pastor at the Grace Community Church.

"A lot of people have been asking what are the things that people need and what we've been hearing a lot right now is, not so much clothes and bedding right now but that might be something that they need later. The things that we're hearing a lot of are batteries, flashlights, cleaning supplies, tarps. Some of those immediate needs."

On Monday afternoon, Pedro said the church had already received donations from 300 carloads of people driving up to their drop off.

Drop-off Sites :
Grace Community Church 
Address: 8000 Bee Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL, 34241 
Drop-Off dates & timeframe: Monday, Oct. 3 to Sunday, Oct. 9 – 9 a.m.-6 p.m. each day

First Sarasota – The Downtown Baptist Church 
Address: 1661 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236 
Drop-Off dates & timeframe: Monday, Oct. 3 to Wednesday, Oct. 5 – 9 a.m.-noon each day 

South Shore Community Church 
Address: 1899 South Tuttle Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34239 
Drop-Off dates & timeframe: Monday, Oct. 3 to Saturday, Oct. 8 – Noon-7 p.m. each day 

Coast Life Church
Address: 1100 U.S. Hwy 41 Bypass, Venice 
Drop-Off date & timeframes: Monday, Oct. 3 – 8-10 a.m. and 4-7 p.m.

Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee  
Address: 580 McIntosh Rd, Sarasota, FL 34232  
Drop-Off dates & timeframes:  
Monday, Oct. 3 – 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 4 – 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 5 – Closed for Yom Kippur 
Thursday, Oct. 6 – 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

As a reporter, my goal is to tell a story that moves you in some way. To me, the best way to do that begins with listening. Talking to people about their lives and the issues they care about is my favorite part of the job.