Feeding Hungry People in Florida

Heartbreak, devastation, and caring for neighbors

Shefali O'Hara
3 min readOct 2, 2022


Photo by Craig Cameron on Unsplash

Hurricane Ian devastated Fort Myers, Florida. This link to the New York Times provides maps, video, and photographs documenting the damage. It’s heartbreaking. So far 74 Floridians as well as 4 people in North Carolina are known to have died, but as rescue efforts continue, more bodies may be found. Over 1,100 people have been rescued.

According to PowerOutage.us, over 770,000 customers are without power in Florida as well as several thousand in North Carolina and Virginia.

Amidst all of the devastation, however, there are still people caring for their neighbors.

I saw this myself when a tornado swept through my area — houses just a mile from mine were destroyed. Afterwards, the community came together. Neighbors, friends, and local churches brought over volunteers with bottled water, sandwiches, and workers that helped clear debris.

The extent of damage we suffered was small compared to what Florida has gone through but I personally know one family that lost their home. Starting over after losing everything — it’s tough.

Right now, in Fort Myers, a local chef, Fritz Caraher, has been cooking up pork chops, chicken, rice, and vegetables to feed his neighbors in need.

He started off feeding hundreds at a distribution center but now he is feeding over a thousand. He said he’s done local charity events for over 20 years, so he’s had experience in feeding groups.

This is a blessing for those who have been without power or electricity for the last four days. One man, Tony Tobler, admitted that “food is scarce”.

Caraher has had friends and an out-of-town cook help to prepare meals. Nearby restaurants have donated food that might have spoiled otherwise, while supplies have also been shipped in. Some residents have donated money for their meals.

In addition to meals, the distribution site also gives free diapers, baby formula, dog and cat food, water, towels, and even shoes to those who need them.

For many people, just getting a warm meal can help restore a sense of normalcy.



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.