Among the most hard-to-find items in the wake of Hurricane Ian were diapers, baby formula and feminine products. When Legion Family leaders learned this during Auxiliary National President Vickie Koutz’s homecoming, they moved quickly to collect those items.
“My goal when this started was $5,000,” said Department of Illinois Adjutant PNC Marty Conatser.
The departments of Illinois and Indiana ended up donating approximately $20,000 worth of items in just a week.
“That tells you, at a time when inflation is killing us, and gas prices are killing us, our people are still incredibly generous when they’re helping each other,” Conatser said during a phone conversation as he and Department of Illinois Senior Vice Commander Delmar Buske drove back from Florida.
The Department of Illinois collected donations in Bloomington, Ill., through last Friday. Then Buske and Conatser drove to Indiana to collect that department’s donations before heading to Post 351 in Fort Myers, Fla.
Second phase underway
As relief efforts continue, the Department of Florida encourages those donating items to follow guidance from the department’s disaster prep chairman, Bill Hoppner.
On the department’s Facebook page, they noted, “Stores are open now... but these items will be needed for many months ahead as our Legion Family in affected areas rebuild their homes, businesses, and livelihoods. Unneeded items are only clogging up the limited storage space we do have.”
Per the department, donated items should be limited to the following:
*Chain or hand saws
*Tools such as shovels, rakes, axes or trimmers
*Battery operated drills and drill bits
*5/8-inch or roof thickness plywood
*Nails or grabber screws
*Peel-and-stick roofing materials
*Tongue-and-groove wood panels
*Large garbage bags
*First aid items
*Children’s toys or activities
For more information on how to donate items or money, go to floridalegion.org/relief. And for details on how to apply for emergency relief from or to donate to The American Legion’s National Emergency Fund (NEF), go to legion.org/emergency.