According to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, “A community’s capacity to prepare for and respond to a disaster or emergency affects its ability to aid this population. Communities need a strong preparedness, response, and recovery plan to adapt to a dynamic event while continuing to serve one of the most vulnerable populations by ensuring that they receive essential services such as meals, prescription medicine management, housing, and other basic necessities.” As the third anniversary of Hurricane Irma approaches, Talbot House Ministries is preparing for the increased needs during a hurricane or tropical storm.

With the threat of COVID-19 still a significant concern, it is more imperative than ever to prepare for an extreme weather emergency well in advance. Our vulnerable and impoverished clients’ lives can depend on our ability to communicate and distribute resources efficiently before, during, and after a disaster strikes. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “People experiencing homelessness typically have limited resources and likely have past exposure to traumatic events. Therefore, they may be at higher risk of adverse physical and psychological reactions following a public health emergency or disaster. Trauma-informed approaches can help disaster responders effectively serve homeless individuals and families.”

During previous hurricanes, Talbot House Ministries has sheltered upwards of 200 individuals. We welcome not only the homeless, but anyone who feels that their home may be unsafe during a hurricane or extreme storm. This spike in occupancy increases our need for a variety of supplies including:

  • Aluminum “chaffing” pans
  • Canned goods
  • Charcoal
  • Coolers
  • Crackers
  • Medical supplies
  • Toiletry items
  • Sheets
  • Towels

This year, Talbot House staff are taking more proactive measures than ever before to ensure that operations can continue throughout hurricane season. Cynthia Northington-Jones, Director of Operations, is leading the charge to gather supplies, create contingency plans, and prepare clients for the possibility of a hurricane this year. “We want to work smarter and not harder as we will weather the storms that cross our path.”

In preparation for this hurricane season, we are asking our community to help us gather additional cases of bottled water, meals ready to eat, aluminum chafing pans, and even coolers for keeping food fresh.

As we begin to see hurricanes develop this season and you begin to prepare your family and organizations, consider taking time to help provide hurricane preparedness kits for those who are staying in shelters or who recently moved into their own permanent supportive housing.

Through your support, Talbot House will be better equipped to serve our community through the challenge of an extreme weather event. If you need more information on preparing your home or business for hurricane season, visit Polk County’s Disaster Preparedness website.