Treasure Coast Food Bank is assisting with recovery efforts across its four-county service area hit by some of the state’s earliest flooding when feeder bands from Hurricane Irma swamped the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee County. In pockets of the community, thousands remain displaced because of flooding, and nearly half of Okeechobee County still has no electricity
On Thursday, the food bank delivered ready-to-eat meals, water and ice to the Percy Peek Gym in Fort Pierce where families from the Sabal Chase Apartments are staying after feeder bands from the hurricane flooded their apartments.
Treasure Coast Food Bank also has delivered ice and water to hundreds of families in the rural Prairie and Fort Drum communities in Okeechobee County, and also provided ice, water, pre-packaged meals, and other supplies to dairy farmers in Okeechobee, Highlands and Glades counties.
“The Treasure Coast did not get the brunt of Hurricane Irma, but widespread flooding and damage to the power grid in Okeechobee County and on the Treasure Coast have cost thousands of families loss of homes, food, and places of work, which will take many weeks, if not months to overcome,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank.
Long-term recovery will be especially tough on lower-income individuals who already had a hard time covering expenses, she said.
“Many people living paycheck to paycheck already are stretched to the limit. Having the unanticipated expenses of preparing for a storm and then the time to recover is placing a strain on an already strained system. But Treasure Coast Food Bank is here to provide immediate and long-term assistance.”
On Saturday, Treasure Coast Food Bank will be at the Martin County Fairgrounds for a community distribution of ice, water, ready-to-eat meals, as well as fresh sweet potatoes and green beans. Next Wednesday, the same items will be distributed in Fellsmere.
The community can help by volunteering or making a cash donation that enables Treasure Coast Food Bank to make bulk purchases of items that are of most critical need. That list includes non-food essentials – toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, and adult and baby diapers.
Volunteers have helped to sort food and non-food essentials in Treasure Coast Food Bank’s warehouse this week, and more help is needed, both in the warehouse and at distribution sites. Visit www.stophunger.org to sign up for a volunteer shift.
Treasure Coast Food Bank is coordinating with its partner agencies to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee counties in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. It also is supporting sister food banks across the state with relief efforts. If anyone is in need of assistance, contact Treasure Coast Food Bank or visit