GUEST COLUMN: Growth win a battle, not the war

Jeff Whitson



Hurricane Irma left ravaged much of the Florida’s 65,755 square miles, leaving behind a wide path of destruction and devastation. Some parts of Florida expect to see continued flooding from rivers swollen by Irma. Tens of thousands are still without power. Many homes are either damaged or destroyed, rendering them uninhabitable. In the hardest hit areas, airports remain closed, roads are still impassable and some hospitals are expecting a significant increase in emergency room visits from injuries sustained while residents clean up their homes and property.

The American Red Cross is part of a large team of partners working together to provide safe shelter, food, and comfort to those affected and displaced from their homes as a result of monstrous storm. In northeast Florida alone, more than 12,000 individuals have sought shelter at more than 50 Red Cross and partner evacuation centers since pre-landfall. Statewide, this has been the largest sheltering operation in the more than 100-year Red Cross history in Florida, with more than 587 evacuation centers open and sheltering upwards of 200,000 individuals at the height of Irma.

Today, Red Cross volunteers from near and far continue to staff shelters and deliver meals and supplies to affected Floridians across the State. The Red Cross will continue to be there, providing comfort and support to those impacted by Hurricane Irma, as long as there is a need. If you need help, please call (904) 358-8091 followed by “8” for assistance.

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. You can help people affected by Hurricane Irma by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or texting the word IRMA to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

Donations are used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. This includes providing food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support recovery planning and other assistance.

You can also make a difference by becoming a Red Cross volunteer. To join us, please visit to learn more about volunteer opportunities and to submit a volunteer application.

The American Red Cross of Northeast Florida is proud to be of services to our fellow Floridians, and we thank you for your support as we provide help and hope to neighbors in need.

Whitson is a board member of the Northeast Florida Red Cross