March to a Million Meals: Gladiolus Food Pantry reopens after Ian - 96.9 WINK FM

March to a Million Meals: Gladiolus Food Pantry reopens after Ian


Gladiolus Food Pantry is fully reopening its food pantry today after all the damage its building sustained during Hurricane Ian.

The building flooded during the storm, and they lost a lot of their food supply, but volunteers were still here the day after, handing out meals. Now their building is finally ready to reopen to the public.

Wink news spoke to some people getting food today. What does something like this mean to them?

Carol Datesh’s story is like many you’ve heard before.

“I stood in four feet, five feet of water for four hours, waiting for the water to go down, watching the roof come off, the floors come up. The furniture go away,” said Datesh.

Hurricane Ian rocked her world. “I lost everything. I lost my parent’s house, all of their stuff, all of my stuff.”

As she dealt with her new normal, the Gladiolus Food Pantry kept her on her feet.

“I have come when I couldn’t hardly even walk,” Datesh said. “Thank God for them. Because they’re there. You know”

The pantry’s building was destroyed by floodwaters, and they lost much of their food supply.

“Yeah, like in here, it was bad, like the water came up to heat like this size, so we lost everything that was on the bottom. The water went in the fridge we lost all the vegetables,” said Miriam Ortiz, founder & director of the Gladiolus Food Pantry.

Gladiolus Food Pantry volunteers. (Credit: WINK News)

Volunteers kept showing up, determined to help the people of Harlem Heights put their lives back together.

“Before Ian, we were helping 240 families a week. And then in Ian and we were doing up to 600 families a week,” said Ortiz. “So that’s what we’re doing here in the little green building with a big heart.”

The people they are helping don’t take the help for granted.

“We feel really loved in our communities by these people,” said a woman being helped at the food pantry.

You can help WINK News raise $450,000 to put a million meals on the tables of hungry families in Southwest Florida.

You can donate by visiting our March to a Million Meals donation page.

More from March to a Million Meals:

Why your dollar matters
Food insecurity leads first-timer to a food bank


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