TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the deployment of Hope Heroes, the volunteer team she assembled as part of her Hope Florida – A Pathway to Purpose initiative in partnership with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, to support older Floridians who have been impacted by Hurricane Ian. The Hope Heroes will be deployed to Charlotte and Lee counties. This comes on the heels of the First Lady’s announcement Friday that the Florida Disaster Fund has distributed more than $1 million in grants to relief organizations engaged in Hurricane Ian recovery efforts.


“We are committed to helping everyone impacted by Hurricane Ian, particularly our vulnerable senior population,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “Through our Hope Florida – A Pathway to Purpose initiative, we are helping Florida’s seniors by mobilizing our Hope Hero volunteers to support those in need — we cannot thank them enough for their quick action, kindness and compassion.”


Hope Heroes, participants in a new volunteer program announced by the First Lady in August in coordination with the Department of Elder Affairs, will be serving Florida’s senior population by volunteering in shelters, conducting home-based needs assessments, providing telephone reassurance, delivering water and shelf-stable meals, and providing assistance at the Department of Children and Families’ Family Resource Centers.


“I am truly grateful to be working so closely with First Lady DeSantis, and I appreciate hers and the Governor’s leadership and support during this time,” said Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Michelle Branham. “Our Hope Heroes and volunteer corps are what makes our network so special. Florida’s aging infrastructure has a stable and solid network of Area Agencies on Aging partners as well as deep connections to faith-based and private business entities to offer yet another layer of help beyond the support we provide.”


Additionally, the First Lady reminds residents to be aware of potential consumer fraud post-storm, which oftentimes target seniors.

  • If your home is damaged, be sure to have your insurance company evaluate damage before arranging repairs.
  • Verify that contractors have a license before performing work by checking MyFloridaLicense.com.
  • Watch out for anyone who approaches unsolicited about tree removal.
  • Be wary of charities with similar sounding names. Some phony charities may attempt to capitalize on disasters by using names similar to legitimate, well-known charities.  The Florida Disaster Fund is a trusted source for monetary contributions for people wanting to give back.
  • No state or federal disaster relief agency will call you for your financial information.


To become a Hope Hero, visit helpcreatehope.com. To contribute to the Florida Disaster Fund, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.




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