Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida HELPLINE: 866-413-5337
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Volunteer to Help Older Adults Affected by Hurricane Ian

The Department of Elder Affairs, in conjunction with First Lady DeSantis’ Hope Florida initiative, is doing an “all call” for Hope Hero volunteers that can provide either remote telephone assistance or physical assistance to our most vulnerable seniors in the State’s most affected areas from Hurricane Ian. Currently, this includes Lee County, Charlotte County and Hardee County. We may be adding more counties to this list as needs are assessed.  

If you are interested in being physically deployed as a volunteer to assist with disaster response efforts in those listed counties, volunteer duties will include, but are not limited to: 

  • Travel in own vehicles with mileage reimbursement to affected areas and reporting into either a designated Hurricane Shelter, Disaster Recovery Center or one of the Department of Children and Families (DCFs) Family Resource Centers
  • Have enough gas to get to location and back again (gas may not be available in affected area). Keep in mind you can travel just outside of the impacted area to obtain gas with smaller wait time
  • Will need access to a laptop, iPad or tablet to transmit information when online – if you need one, please indicate that on the volunteer sign in sheet
  • May need air mattresses and/or sleeping bags, and pack food and bottled water to self-sustain for up to three days
  • Will need to be self-sufficient and not require additional care. This critical volunteer effort must ensure that the volunteer does not place any additional need on the infrastructure in crisis
  • If close enough, may go in and out daily by car. If spending the night, the volunteer may have to stay in a shelter or alternative location
  • Buddying up and relieving deployed Department CARES Assessors who are serving in hurricane shelters
  • Duties may include the following: speaking with seniors and assessing short term and long-term needs, delivering food and water to vulnerable seniors, serving in shelters; duties as assigned, picking up and delivering medications, working with hot meal distribution sites, etc.  
  • Volunteers must be self-sustaining so that it does not detract from available resources for hurricane survivors in the affected area.

If you feel that you are unable to be physically deployed, based on the above guidance, do not worry we still need you! You can assist those affected by providing telephone assistance.  Volunteer duties will include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling an individual off of a list
  • Using a script to assess need
  • Reassuring them that what they are experiencing is normal
  • Advising them of some of the resources available
  • Acting as a resource
  • Calling facilities and asking if they have available beds and are accepting clients
  • All tools (i.e. call list and scripts will be provided)

If you are interested in participating in our Hope Florida Disaster Recovery Efforts and would like to become a Hope Hero Volunteer, click here to sign up.

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