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Hurricane Irma Relief and ways to helpI’m sitting in our car as I type this, the rubber burning against the concrete below as we race away from our home in the largest evacuation in American history. Hurricane Irma is looming, threatening, and she is no joke. I’m actually fighting tears (and have been all day) as I think of friends that are still there, hunkered down, battering away at the fear trying to take hold. 

We know the impact is real. We know that all of our lives will be forever changed, whether we were able to leave or whether we stayed. The choice isn’t easy. There are threats in staying and threats in going, any choice seems like the wrong one to make. Hearts are torn, and decisions need to be made in an instant. 

As we drive, we pass gas station after gas station closed down. With no fuel for miles, cars line up just waiting for a fuel truck to refill the tanks at the station. We passed rest stops with volunteers handing out free food for evacuees, and it’s the little acts of kindness in these times that warm our hearts. People are in panic, lives are at stake.

I think the hardest thing to explain is the constant emotion through the midst of it. Tuning your brain into any other thoughts is almost impossible. When you’re not living through it, your life can go on in other ways, and then come back to it… but when your home is in the path of one of the biggest storms to hit the coast of the Atlantic, it’s hard to get away from. While you’re there, your mind races with what to do, how much to do, to protect your family. As you drive away, your thoughts race for the people you love that are still there. You wonder what you’ll return to, how life will be after.

Hurricane Irma prepA little of the calm before the storm (first shared on Instagram) while we prepped our home for Hurricane Irma.

One thing I know is this, with storms swirling and tensions mounting, we can have peace. I believe in the incredible power of prayer and right now is an amazing time for GRACE. A time to give it and a time to receive it. We may not always be able to shoo the storms of life away, but we can take a deep breath and walk in peace, knowing that worries aren’t going to change the circumstances. I want to encourage you to find rest in Him in the midst of this storm. In God’s grace we can find calm and comfort, even when our situation doesn’t give it. 

Friends, I’m praying for you! And in the midst of this, we can all prepare and put our hands to work.

Hurricane Irene Evacuation Florida gas station hurricane irene Florida gas station hurricane ireneA couple of views as we passed gas stations and waiting in lines waiting to leave. 

Hurricane Irma help for Florida friends:

Text ‘FLPrepares’ to 888777. You will get a text response that you are registered with the State Registered Response Team. It will keep you informed and provide updates throughout the storm.
Also, text your zip code to 888777. You will receive updates specific to your zip code.

The Zello app for quick and easy communication, although it needs at least Wi-Fi or 2G service to operate.

The FEMA app to stay up to date on weather-related alerts, find shelters, and more.

The Hurricane Tracker provides detailed storm maps, National Hurricane Center info, threat-level maps, forecast updates, real-time feeds and push alerts.

Snapchat’s Snap Map isn’t just for fun anymore! The interactive map lets you share locations with friends or the public. Users were documenting the impact and rescue stories around Hurricane Harvey on their Snapchat Stories, which can be accessed on Snap Maps. 

The GasBuddy is one we usually use for road trips, but in evacuation with thousands of others at the same time? Instead of looking for the cheapest gas, we were just looking for places that HAVE gas. Updated in real time by users, this app was helpful!

Looking for a way to help offer Hurricane Irma relief?

AmeriCares which is providing medicine and medical assistance to emergency shelters.

Save the Children is preparing to help kids and families in need.

Salvation Army is prepping with food and water to first time responders.

Airbnb has a special offering of emergency accommodations (volunteered by the owners and if you have lodging you can offer yours here).

The American Red Cross is opening shelters in other states and preparing to help, click here to find assistance. 

The Salvation Army is getting ready, you can text STORM to 80888 to donate $10.

I will keep updating this list as we find more ways to help and support! If there’s something I missed, please comment below!

And of course, PRAY! We could use your prayers, and not opinions or judgements. Tensions are already high, and prayers are SO appreciated by Floridians right now.