United Way, PODS partner to provide distribution sites for Ian victims

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

United Way partnered with PODS to set up distribution points on Thursday. The Gifts In Kind program gives out furniture and other household items that families lost during the storm.

Many people in need turn to the United Way, but now, United Way is coming to them.

United Way partnered with PODS and 10 local social service agencies to distribute much-needed furniture and home goods to families who lost so much because of Hurricane Ian.

“This is the first time that we’ve done this. My team was trying to think out of the box and said, ‘how can we get all these donated good millions of dollars worth of donated goods out to our community, without them having to travel far to pick them up and everything?’ So this was just an incredible way to solve that problem,” said Jeannine Joy, CEO of United Way.

PODS donated the use of five 16-foot storage containers, and United Way added five more. They’re parked across Lee County, including the hard-hit island communities.

“We have a family here, they lost everything in the storm, and that included mattresses. So, you know, it’s heartwarming to know that somebody’s going to have a good night’s sleep tonight for the first time in months,” said Joy.

Bridget Thomas and her family were among the first to benefit from this distribution. Her home in Harlem Heights in uninhabitable.

“I’m grateful for United Way and the people that took the time to reach out to me to tell them to come get it. And it’s a relief. It’s a little bit of stress off of me, and my family would greatly appreciate it,” Thomas said.

Each location is locked and managed by a United Way partner agency or community partner.

Anyone in need can find their nearest location by clicking here and calling to schedule an appointment for item retrieval.

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