18 Sep 2017

Help Our Beautiful SWFL Communities

September 18, 2017Inspiration, lisa davenport designs


Labor Day picnics and celebrations all over Southwest Florida were filled with talk about a gal coming to ‘visit’…Irma.  As I sat enjoying a stunning sunset on Fort Meyers Beach that Labor Day Monday, I sensed a feeling of unsettledness approaching.  By Tuesday morning we were in full hurricane preparation mode.  I was scrambling to find a way to return to Connecticut, all the while prepping to hunker down and ride it out if a return plan didn’t happen.  Still, my experience during this time was nothing short of extraordinary.  I found the people of Southwest Florida, Naples in particular, to be the kindest, most generous, people I’ve ever encountered. As supplies dwindled, people didn’t horde, they shared.  These amazing Floridians wore concerned faces but still remembered the importance of looking out for their fellow man.  They were friendly, reasonable, and continued to smile and wish everyone well.  From all over Naples, Bonita Springs, and Fort Meyers, I received offers for places for me to stay, some were from people who have only known me a few months. The beautiful community of Southwest Florida warmly opened their arms and gathered me in with love and friendship.

Although I did ultimately make it back to Connecticut before Irma arrived, I did leave behind my beautiful community.  Once home, I found myself wrestling with a mix of emotions.  Not only a heart full from the outpouring of love and compassion I received, but also sleepless nights and days full of concern and worry about my community. 

The Naples and Southwest Florida communities made me their family; it is time to say thanks.  All my friends, colleagues, and family made it through Irma in one piece.  There was, of course, major damage but no loss of life.  Still, the area from Fort Meyers through the Keys needs our help.  Here’s where we are focusing our help:

FireLily Foundation – co-founded by my dear friend Suzanne Novak.  FireLily works specifically with small businesses guiding them through the rebuilding process.  They can assist at various levels from navigating an array of assistance programs, to supplies, equipment, temporary business space, and guidance on the re-building process.

America Recovers – another organization Suzanne is involved with, has been working with Voorhees High School in Northern NJ , Broadway Bound Dance Center, and Jersey Community Acupuncture to collect requested needs for SWFL.  Joe and I will be leaving Connecticut next week to pick up these supplies and drive them to Naples, Marco Island, and the Keys.  If you’d like to contribute, please contact Suzanne directly at (203) 645-2209 or suzanne.novak@erudyne.com.

Valerie’s House – an organization helping children of loss realize there are no limits to their dreams, is always in need of assistance.  Donations can be made on their website or you can contact angela@valerieshouseswfl.org directly for assistance.  She is working with the families to assess their individual needs. Valerie’s House is one of LDD’s charities of choice.  Over the last year we’ve become quite involved.  The families are amazing, and we look forward to continuing to help heal and build their dreams.

LDD has found a second home in Southwest Florida, as have Joe and I.  I personally ask you to keep our friends, colleagues, and family in your thoughts and prayers in the coming months as they rebuild.  I’m confident we will come back even stronger, more beautiful, and if it is even possible a better community.







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