NewsLocal NewsLee County


Suncoast families coming together for night of fun after Hurricane Ian

Posted at 9:56 PM, Oct 21, 2022

SUNCOAST, Fla. — As Southwest Florida continues to recover after Hurricane Ian, families are being invited to take a break and have some fun.

Sunshine Health, the Agency for Health Administration and the Florida Department of Children and Families are bringing a hurricane relief family fun night to Suncoast.

"Just to put a little fun back in everyone’s life is something we’re really happy to be a part of and that’s what they really need.”

At the Suncoast Community Center, some Halloween fun is providing a small break from what so many are dealing with.

“We didn’t expect to see the amount of folks we have out here but we do," said Nathan Landsbaum, CEO of Sunshine Health. "It’s great to see the community come out and have a little bit of normalcy after what they’ve gone through the past couple of weeks.”

A bit of normalcy after Hurricane Ian swept through Southwest Florida three weeks ago. Provided by local organizations, offering a little more than kids games and face painting.

"We’re partnering with Liberty Dental and Ocono Health and they brought some health resources, some mental health and dental resources to us," said Landsbaum. "So we can give a little of those services to the community while we’re also having fun.”

And yet, just down the road, people are still picking up the pieces. Some with their homes and others with nothing at all.

“I just pray I get back in my house quick.”

People like Deborah Cop who lost her home to Hurricane Ian.

"Me and my husband are living in a tent right now and I need my oxygen tank," she says. "I’m doing better, I mean I just go day to day.”

While so many have dealt with heavy personal loss, it’s hard not to appreciate the scene of families having a night to exhale and smile.

"So much work has been put into this so soon after this disaster," says Cop. "I mean these kids needed something.”

And even after this night, there’s still hope for a brighter tomorrow.

"We are Southwest Florida strong," said Cop. "We will come back.”