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Hurricane Ian donation drive inspires Tampa children

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Posted at 5:24 PM, Oct 06, 2022

TAMPA, Fla. — Diapers, wipes and formula are a common sight to see at The Goddard School of South Tampa. But the growing stack of supplies in the building right now isn't for its students; all between the ages of six weeks and six years. Owner Megan Reeves said they're collecting them for parents impacted by Hurricane Ian.

"It's been great to have you know, our families contribute and, you know, make somebody's life a little bit easier as they're going through this time of need," she said.

It's also an opportunity for them to teach the kids the importance of service and giving back.

"As an early childhood provider, you know, we know the demand of diapers, wipes, formula, especially in times of need. We felt that this was a great opportunity for our children to see us as adults giving back to our community and stepping up and doing the right thing."

The drive is in partnership with Tampa Bay Window Shades.

Nick Akins said the company decided to organize the drive last Thursday, following news of the devastation in Southwest Florida.

"We're extremely lucky that it's not us, you know. This could easily have been us. This is what it was tracked to be; to go right at us," he said.

Akins said he wasn't expecting the drive to take off so quickly.

"By Friday evening, all three pickup locations were overflowing with supplies. So literally in less than a day, we were able to fill two box trucks and we were on the road Saturday morning driving those down to them."

The supplies are going directly to Community Cooperative. It's a nonprofit aimed at helping people experiencing homelessness and others in need.

"Just to see their reactions when we bring those supplies down, the looks on their faces. I mean, we have literally had some people crying when we showed up. That's how desperate they were just for, you know, for water and supplies and things like that things that we don't, you know, second guess. They were that ecstatic to see us with it," he said.

It's those stories that Reeves said she hopes her students never forget.

"To have those little ones come in and you know, ask all the questions, 'what are these for?' it's been a great learning opportunity for them and a great open-ended conversation to start with them. As far as you know, why do we do these things? Why is it important? How can we help those, you know, in their time of need?"

Goddard is also hosting a book fair. Portions of the proceeds will go toward relief efforts.

You can drop off donations at the school, Urban Cantina in downtown Tampa, LoHi CBD Kratom and Kava on Kennedy, F 45 at Sparkman Wharf, or Timpanos in Hyde Park until Friday evening. The final truckload of goods will pull off for Fort Myers Saturday morning.

HURRICANE RESOURCES