AROUND HASTINGS: Irma recovery has been a community effort

Hastings area residents have a lengthy list of people to thank for assistance in the past three weeks. Many of those helpers and donors never left names but provided everything they could to help. Team Up is no longer taking donations of clothing or furniture as they’re full to the brim. Non-perishable food, diapers, and wipes are always in demand at the library, though.


United Way sent a truck of clothing and small kitchen appliances. The Salvation Army’s warm-hearted volunteers fed hot meals, encouragement and smiles to anyone who came to their bus outside the Hastings Branch Library for many days. The Red Cross provided similar support in Flagler Estates, along with clean buckets to enable residents to begin the heavy cleaning. There was the Flagler Estates Emergency response group that sat outside the Flagler Estates District offices from dawn to dusk to make sure there was plenty of water for those without power. Publix provided hot Sunday dinners to the community to give the other volunteers a break. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, Army National Guard and the Coast Guard were on hand to help those trapped by water.

Hats off to Mt. Olive for an immediate distribution of cleaning supplies, followed by a major distribution of bulk animal feeds and farm tools to those in need. They also offered the contents of their thrift shop to residents of Flagler Estates.

First Baptist of Hastings provided an early food distribution and headquarters for the hundreds of volunteers who came into the area to provide manpower for debris removal and emergency repairs.

Christ United Methodist Church, which had flooding cleanup to do in its school rooms, opened the thrift shop doors to anyone who needed anything there. They still have some reading chairs and recliners available if a family is in need, so drop by the rectory and let Pastor Karl know what’s needed.

Hundreds of volunteers swarmed the area with smiles and gloves to help clean up yards and flooded homes. We don’t know your names but we hope you are blessed for your kindness!

The Hastings Library provided shelter from the heat, computers when the Internet was active, and encouragement. They’re hosting the clothing giveaway for another week. While moms selected clothing for the family, children played in the Kids Zone, a small patch of normal in all the chaos. Library employees Emily and Terri spent countless hours collecting furniture and coordinating with South Woods to be sure all needs were being met. Library volunteers always wore a smile, even while manning the non-stop phone calls from around the area.

Rotary groups from District 6970 got into the solution-phase at the request of the Hastings Rotary Club. One facilitated a full food truck delivery into Shepherd’s Haven at the W.E. Harris Center last week, while Rotarians from Flagler County, St. Johns County and Putnam County all worked to distribute food on Sept. 29 in the Hastings Town Hall parking lot to more than 160 families. Thanks to the Grace Community Food Pantry’s outreach program, more than 21 volunteers loaded a long lineup of vehicles. Rotarians arranged forklifts, truck rentals and volunteers to make the day one that made a difference in many lives.

• Anyone who missed the Dana Wildsmith presentation at the library on Sept 30 missed a terrific event, and pie from Spuds Farm, courtesy of the Friends of the Library. Audience questions were thoughtful and enlightening. In a time when immigration is such a hot topic, it was refreshing to gain some non-politicized, firsthand knowledge of the challenges of all involved.

• For the youth, there are two fun free events at the library in the coming days. The Global Cardboard Challenge, inspired by the short film “Caine’s Arcade,” happens Saturday at 12:30 p.m.. So far, more than 1 million kids in 80 countries have taken the Cardboard Challenge! Bring your young ones out for this fun afternoon.

On Oct. 14, kids and teens are invited to make lanterns featuring silhouettes of creatures sweet or spooky in the Monsters, Mermaids, Zombies & Fairies program that starts at 12:30 p.m. All materials are provided by the Hastings Friends of the Library.

• The next Friends of the Library meeting will be Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Hastings Library. Friends and those interested in joining are welcome to come. Help keep children and families engaged in reading, exploring, and discovering their world. Membership applications are available at the Main Desk in the Library.

• The St. Ambrose Catholic Church Fall Festival starts at noon and runs until 4 p.m. on Sunday. Event and parking are free and all are welcome.

• Registration is open for the Hastings Annual Breast Cancer Walk on Oct. 21. Registration opens at 7 a.m. at the W.E. Harris Community Center on E. Harris Street and ends at Al Wilke Field for a recognition ceremony and refreshments. T-shirts are $5, and the event is free. Registration forms are available at the library and pre-registration is preferred.

• Calling all veterans! Please contact Lorain Vinson if you will attend the COA Veteran’s Day Program to honor veterans of all branches on Nov. 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lorain can be reached at 729-9161 or at

Contact Nancy Quatrano at by 5 p.m. on Fridays if you have information for the column; please put “Hastings” in the subject line.

Contact Nancy Quatrano at by 5 p.m. on Fridays if you have information for the column; please put “Hastings” in the subject line.