“This has been a day!” my new coworker exclaimed as we wound down from an exciting morning and afternoon. Today was scheduled to be my first day serving as an AmeriCorps Member at Hope CommUnity Center. It started with reviewing my position’s duties and ended with a sweat-soaked t-shirt and a handful of exhausted and gratifying sighs.

With support from major community officials, Central Florida Jobs with Justice, Organize Florida, Farmworker Association of Florida, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Volunteer UCF, OESPA and more, Hope CommUnity Center staff, along with volunteers, delivered food and water to the neighborhoods of South Apopka, Brightwood Manor, Rock Springs, and Chalet North. These communities are still experiencing power outages and shortages of essentials after Hurricane Irma.Kenny’s BBQ in Clermont and Operation BBQ Relief Disaster Response Team cooked and delivered enough food to feed nearly 1500 people. Jonathan Van Pelt, the club manager at the Sam’s Club in Apopka, donated 4 truck beds of ice and 10 pallets of water. The heavy lifting to offload these supplies was conducted by the local Apopka Fire Station 1. We give a big ‘thank you’ to Mayor Joe Kilsheimer and Commissioner Diane Velazquez for their contributions. All donated goods were available for families to pick up at Hope CommUnity Center South and were also loaded into vans to give to people door to door.

After finally taking a seat, my first thoughts were not fixated on how drained my body felt, but how many genuine smiles we received from the many residents of Apopka who are out of power, out of water, and out of food. Needless to say, this disaster relief day was an absolute success. As my coworker declared, “It happened, and it happened well.”

-Moniqua Cisneros, First Year (and second week) Notre Dame Mission Volunteer AmeriCorps member

Check out this amazing video from the City of Apopka –> Click here