SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennesseans are stepping up to help those in Florida devastated by Hurricane Ian’s wrath.
A family from Fort Myers headed down south Friday afternoon after collecting goods from the Spring Hill community.
Giovanni and Chelsea Melchiorre parked a gooseneck trailer on Main Street Friday as many in the community dropped off donations.
“It’s amazing to see the community come together for people they don’t know,” Giovanni smiled.
The efforts started with a simple Facebook post by the family.
“We all grew up there, so the entire, it’s demolished. It’s gone, everything we’ve ever known the buildings, the restaurants, the places where we went to school, where some of us got married,” Chelsea went on to explain.
The couple watched Ian’s path closely where their family and friends remain.
“Everyone last minute, by the grace of God, they evacuated inland,” Chelsea explained, saying her father however didn’t it.
It was a hopeless feeling for the mother of three.
“I was praying out loud, begging that he would make it out alive and he did,” she cried.
Grateful family and friends survived, but heartbroken as their loved ones are left with nothing.
“We are going to collect as much as we can because people have nothing, they have the shirt on their back,” said Chelsea.
Now, they are collecting basic necessities.
“There’s no power. They have all the water mains shut off, so you’re not getting water to your home right now. Ya know simple things you wouldn’t even think of like brushing your teeth, washing your hands. It’s just not possible right now so we just want to get as much clean water and just food and other stuff to them as soon as possible,” Giovanni explained.
It’s a feeling this family knows all too well, hit by Hurricane Irma five years ago almost to the date.
“After that, ya know, when everything’s taken from you, you just kind of look at your life and it’s like let’s go try something new. So, we packed up and we left all of our friends and family and we restarted here.”
Tennesseeans proved their volunteer spirit with Fort Myers in their hearts.
“We’ve never stopped praying we are going to get you through this. I’m going to do everything in my power to help our people,” Chelsea vowed.
The family is thankful for the community’s incredible outpouring of support, saying they received donations from across the country. The Melchiorre’s plan is to go back with another load in a couple of weeks.