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Hope Fueled by Gasoline, Flashlight and Neighbors

Hope Fueled by Gasoline, Flashlight and Neighbors

I am writing this one for those of my neighbors in Southwest Florida who are reading this by flashlight.  This is being composed on a laptop that was charged via a generator thanks to a fellow Southwest Floridian who got their power back and gave me the gas they had when I was all out.  That gas gave me hope and I realize I am a fortunate to have access to the generator in the first place.

If you are still on flashlight power then I imagine you are frustrated, worn out and probably worried about what will happen next.  Sometimes when we are isolated we wonder if anyone cares about us and if help is on the way.

I get that those I am most concerned about may have no way of seeing this article but maybe down the road you will pick it up and know that an army of caring people are out there working to try and connect with you to get you the help you need now and for the long haul.

As I write this we are only a couple of days’ post Irma landfall, but I am watching the National Guard, first responders, power companies, businesses, the faith community, United Way and the nonprofit superstars of our region join together to get help to those in need.

Even though they may not know you personally they are thinking about you, considering your situation and trying to devise ways to get what you need in your hands as quickly as possible.  I am sure yesterday cannot be soon enough.  Food, water and shelter in the short term and then restoration in the long term.

If you are reading this and feel alone or need help, call the United Way 211 help line and let them know what you need.

I wish I had just the right words at this moment to let you know there are people that care about you, but I know anything I might say would fall short.

If you are reading this from a fully lit room with air and water restored and are wondering how to help you can give to your neighbors at or text GIVESWFL to 444999.

These tax-deductible donations will go directly to Southwest Floridians in need, no fees.

For those who wish to help out, the United Way is seeking volunteers!

Or just look around and see who might need your leftover gas or a word of hope and encouragement.  The little and big things mean a lot when you are living by flashlight.


Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More