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Salvation Army continues to help flood victims from Bonita Springs

By Staff | Aug 29, 2008

The Salvation Army of Lee County reported that it is continuing to serve approximately 600 residents of Bonita Springs who evacuated their homes in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Fay as flood waters continue to flow through the city.

The Lee County Emergency Operations Center has imposed mandatory evacuations for two mobile parks in Bonita Springs — the Christian and Saldivar Mobile Home Parks — and other neighborhoods in the eastern portion of Bonita Springs.

Flood waters are reportedly running through lower lying areas on Bonita Beach Road toward the Gulf of Mexico and are being caught in certain neighborhoods of the city.

As a result of the evacuations, displaced residents are now staying at the Estero Community Park on Corkscrew Road and officials from the Salvation Army said they are working diligently to distribute various supplies such as clothing, blankets and diapers.

The American Red Cross is managing the shelter in Estero along with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County EMS, Estero Fire Department, Estero CERT and the Lee County Health Department, according to the EOC.

“Through the goodness of the community, we have been able to distribute thousand of pieces of clothing, blankets, towels and diapers to families who left their homes with little more than the clothes on their back,” said Major Art Penhale, corps officer of The Salvation Army of Lee and Hendry counties. “It is such a privilege to be able to serve these families.”

Megan Spears, spokesperson for the Salvation Army, said that out of the approximately 600 people staying at the shelter, half are children.

“The army has been asked to receive and distribute donations of clothing, blankets, shoes, diapers because so many of the people left with what they can carry in their hands or got the call to evacuate when they were at work,” said Spears.

The organization has been collecting donations at its main office in Fort Myers, the emergency shelter and in family stores scattered around Lee County. While many donations have been distributed, more is needed to offset the growing need.

“People are coming from all over the county. We are getting items at our Fort Myers location, shelter facility and family stores,” said Spears.

Currently, there are two staff members with the Salvation Army who conduct outreach with residents in Bonita Springs.

Spears said the county is in the process of initiating its long-term recovery assessment and the Salvation Army is working on the communities short-term needs including shelter, clothing and food. Later, the organization’s case managers will work with families on finding new housing.

The Salvation Army is requesting new underwear; new sports bras; long pants sized 32, 34 and 36; new socks; work boots; diapers and other useful donations.

To give donations or for more information visit one of their area locations:

— Estero Community Center, 9200 Corkscrew Palms Blvd., Estero

— South Fort Myers Family Store, 15418 S. Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers

— Fowler Family Store, 3065 Fowler St., Fort Myers

— Social Services Campus, 2400 Edison Ave., Fort Myers

— Cape Family Store, 4506 Del Prado Blvd.

— Administration Offices and Corps Community Center, 10291 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers