During the ongoing Hurricane Irma recovery efforts, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) worked with other organizations, churches, and individuals on the ground to feed and service over 30,000 people. Why? Simply put because Floridians were in need. After Hurricane Irma passed through Florida we realized that the communities in which we lived were devastated. Interestingly enough before Irma touched down in Florida many communities were living under tremendous amounts of stress (financial, emotional, etc.). The storm seemed to have pushed those circumstances over the edge because of historic flooding (in some areas), wind damage, loss of food, income, along with a plethora of other post-storm effects.

Neil Volz, upon seeing the damage to different areas of the State verbalized what the core members of the FRRC were thinking, WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING! Almost immediately while in the midst of the Say Yes to Second Chances Ballot Initiative campaign was underway a decision was made to simultaneously go into recovery mode. FRRC members took to the streets to see what families needed in addition to water and hot food due to the lack of electricity. In areas such as South Florida, Southwest Florida, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and some of the smaller counties considerable attention was given to ensure the needs of the residents were being met.

In conclusion, I really think it’s important to highlight the intention is and always has been to rise together overcoming obstacles and dividers that often get in our way such as race, gender, political affiliation, religion, or age. We are able to do it during tragedy the continuing challenge is to remain united once the immediate sting of tragedy passes. The hope is the FRRC will create and foster a continual culture of unity rooted in empathy and genuine concern for our fellow man, woman, and child.

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