It Didn’t Take Long For You to Respond

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Since our story ran last Friday, the folks at 820 Buttonwood tell us over 175 boxes arrived to help them restock their shelves. Here’s how you can help….

In the days and weeks after Hurricane Ian hit, 820 Buttonwood, located just before the Matanzas Pass Bridge, transformed from a warehouse for golf carts to a beacon of hope for thousands of people. The volunteers running that location need our help again.

Shortly after Hurricane Ian, now Mayor Dan Allers and Tim Ryan were running their golf cart business out of 820 Buttonwood. Every cart was destroyed when the hurricane swept water through the facility. Rather than focus on repairing and replacing their revenue-less business, Allers and Ryan decided 820 Buttonwood would become the drop-off location for donations and supplies, and, also a much-needed gathering place for residents of the island, who lost everything.

Yes, you could pick up a generator, a shop-vac, water, food and other supplies at no charge, but you could also hug a friend and discuss options about your home. Options you’d never thought you’d ever be discussing. So many of you volunteered at 820 Buttonwood, just wanting to do anything to help your neighbor. Buttonwood is where new friendships were made. It’s where the Yellow Army was born!

Then, all of you across the country got involved and something spectacular happened. With no mail service to the island, boxes and boxes of donations were sent to our house in Gateway from an Amazon wish list created by volunteer Jessica Fluharty. Day after day, volunteers drove 30 miles or more to pick up the donations and deliver them back to Buttonwood. There were so many donations Kim and I were on a first-name basis with the Fed-Ex, UPS and Amazon drivers and our garage was full of your generous gifts for several months.

As the immediate needs shifted from basic supplies like water and food to drywall and permits, the donations dropped off, as was expected. However, there’s still a need according to Heidi Jungwirth and Kathy Nash who now run the facility, which is an official 501c3.

Heidi tells Beach Talk Radio News every day Buttonwood volunteers have to turn people away seeking help because the shelves are bare. It’s heartbreaking to watch these determined souls give a hopeful smile and say they’ll check back tomorrow. Those seeking help are the same individuals who have committed to rebuilding the island. Residents already struggling through the challenges of construction, permitting, scarcity of building supplies, financing, all while living in conditions that pre-Ian would have been thought of as unsustainable.”

We need your help to refocus the light on their plight. These people are the heart and soul, the virtual backbone of Fort Myers Beach. The individuals that have committed to undertaking rebuilding their homes; the individuals that give the community its vibe, its energy and its future.

820 Buttonwood is in need of the following items:
Food
Pet food
Water
Allergy medicine
Pillows
Razors
Shaving cream
Laundry detergent
Paper towels
Toilet paper Rv and regular
Kitchen size trash bags
Empty spray bottles
Eye drops
Drinks- water -Gatorade

We have gone back to our friend Jessica Fluharty, our amazing Amazon wish list expert. You can donate any of these items by CLICKING HERE.

The address you can send any of these items to is much closer to Buttonwood now and will make transitioning your donations over a lot faster. You can also send directly to that address, which is:
Heidi Jungwirth
121 Mango Street
Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931

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