Global Empowerment Mission sends supplies to Florida residents ahead of Idalia

DORAL, Fla. – The Global Empowerment Mission in Doral is sending aid Tuesday by preparing vans and pickup trucks filled with family supplies and headed towards Southwest Florida in preparation of Hurricane Idalia.

Local 10 News spoke with Chief Development Officer Patrick Lynch, of the GEM, who explained the strategy behind sending family necessity kits from South Florida to the Panhandle.

“In general, these kits can sustain a family of four for up to a week,” said Lynch. “We have 34 packs of bottled water, non-perishable food items, soap, personal hygiene items, toothpaste and toothbrushes to pre-position the aid so that we can distribute it as soon as the storm moves out.

As supplies head north, animals who are up for adoption are evacuating south.

Broward County Humane Society officials are heading to Citrus County Animal Services in Inverness, Florida to pick up approximately 20 animals that have been at the shelter waiting to be adopted to safely transport the animals in the storm’s path to a shelter in Fort Lauderdale.

In anticipation of the impending threat posed by Idalia, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Miami Fire Rescue stepped up their support efforts by dispatching its Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams to the west coast and the central part of the state.

“We’re prepared for anything the storm is gonna bring our way,” said Maggie Castro, of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. “We have K-9s, doctors, water assets and 90 people heading up to north Florida, ready to take on any task. We’re gonna be self-sufficient for the next 14 days and bring everything with us that we need to sustain ourselves so that we’re not a burden to a community suffering from a hurricane.”

Authorities said at least 170 firefighters are heading over from Miami on Tuesday.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue K-9 specialist Carlo Galluccio told Local 10 News that he is grateful for the support and says having Saturn, a K-9 that assisted in the search and rescue efforts after the Surfside condo collapse along with Hurricane Ian, will help tremendously.

“We’re looking for people who are still alive -- even if they can’t call out, (are) unconscious and just breathing, she will be able to find them,” said Galluccio, when discussing how K-9s will assist in the search.

GEM is seeking volunteers and donations to help victims in need. For more information, click here.

About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

Ryan Mackey is a Digital Journalist at WPLG. He was born in Long Island, New York, and has lived in Sunrise, Florida since 1994.