Let’s start with the good news – there’s a lot of it. Most importantly, everyone on staff with ECHO-Florida is safe! ECHO buildings were spared any serious damage – over and over, huge trees fell right next to buildings without damaging them! In addition, all of the animals on ECHO’s Global Farm made it through alive and, with the complete loss of electricity, ECHO’s investment in a propane-fueled backup generator for the Seed Bank is paying off.
We are SO grateful to God! Given the intensity of the storm, this is amazing.
The bad news is real, but pales in comparison. At least 32 major trees and bamboo clumps were snapped-off or uprooted by Irma’s winds. Plantings in the research plots and sections of the Global Farm were shredded. Sections of fencing were destroyed. Power will remain out for days to come. The costs to ECHO will likely reach $100,000. This is a lot, but much less than we had feared!
You have been so supportive in the lead-up to this storm. We want to thank you for praying with us and sending words of encouragement. Here’s what we will need over the next couple of weeks:
1.Continued prayer for our staff team as they clear trees and debris, repair, and replant -- for safety (lots of chain saw work will be required!), grace-giving/receiving, and hope in the face of lost research initiatives, etc.;
2.Volunteers who can help with tree and debris removal; and,
3.Special gifts totaling $100,000 to cover the costs of responding to Hurricane Irma and enabling ECHO-Florida to quickly get re-focused on our global mission.
4.Collective expressions of thanksgiving for the “relatively” modest destruction from Hurricane Irma. It could easily have been so much worse!
IF you want to volunteer and can get here within the next few days please e-mail Heidi at HVeres@echonet.org or go to www.echonet.org and click on “Get Involved” where you can sign-up to volunteer. We’ll be back in touch right away.
Thank you so very, very much!