September 29, 2022

Severe Weather Continues to Ravage Florida

Tropical Storm Nicole inflicted more damage to the state’s Ian-battered coastal areas.

by Peter Burgo

UPDATE 11/10/2022:

From Shell Point: More than 250 residents have been displaced from their homes and Shell Point has relocated them to other buildings on campus as we conduct the necessary repairs. Insurance adjusters have been reviewing the damages throughout the community and it will be some time before the final estimates are in; however, there will be millions of dollars in losses that will not be covered by insurance. A Shell Point Recovery Fund on has been established for tax-deductible donations to help with the rebuilding.

Likewise, hundreds of our employees have experienced personal losses including cars, homes and personal possessions. Generous residents have stepped forward to donate to the Employee Hurricane Relief Fund, which is being distributed through the Legacy Foundation.  However, due to the number of employees experiencing losses, there is still great financial need in this area.

From the Alliance Southeast: The district continues to await additional contractor estimated for the remaining repairs needed for the churches that were impacted and is continuing to receive funding through the Hurricane Ian Relief Fund.

Meanwhile, Nicole has made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane just south of Florida’s Vero Beach early Thursday and is now a tropical storm that has moved westward in the state with heavy rains and strong winds, further deteriorating coastlines previously battered by Hurricane Ian. More than 335,000 homes and businesses have been left without power. Some coastal homes have been lost and evacuations are under way northeast of Tampa along Florida’s gulf coast. Please pray that the storm continues to weaken as it moves northward into Georgia and the Carolinas and for the protection of those it its path.

UPDATE 10/18/2022:

Many have asked how they can help support the disaster cleanup and restoration efforts. The Alliance Southeast District has identified three ways to assist:

PHYSICAL LABOR: There will be an ongoing need for Teams or individuals who desire to help with manual labor. If you are interested, contact Matt Perrotto at [email protected]. He will connect your team’s skill to a specific church’s need. 

SENDING SUPPLIES: Maybe you are not able to join others in the clean up process, but instead desire to donate specific items churches need. If you would like to help in this capacity, please contact Tom Olney at [email protected].

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION: After clean up, there is an ongoing need for many churches to rebuild their places of worship.  If you feel led to give financially to Hurricane Ian recovery efforts, you can do so here. All proceeds will be used to assisting the rebuilding of seriously damaged churches or homes. The need is great and so is our God! GIVE NOW.

UPDATE 10/13/2022:

Alliance Southeast District Superintendent Tom Flanders reports:

We have approximately sixteen congregations that were affected to varying degrees by wind or flooding. While most were along the SW coast of FL, there were others damaged that are in central FL. Each of these sites have received 1-3 visits from district personnel to assess and assist with relief & recovery efforts. I have spent a total of four days in the area of SW FL. Additionally, more than 100 volunteers were mobilized from other Alliance congregations and served with heavy clean up on this past Saturday. At this point, all but two of our buildings are able to be occupied. These two suffered significant damage and it remains to be determined what will be done with each building. Thankfully, to our knowledge there was no serious injury or loss of life for anyone associated with an Alliance congregation.  

Our greatest need is financial resource. A number of these congregations did not have “wind” coverage due to the exorbitant premiums. As a result, we are raising funds to get mitigation efforts further underway and roof repairs done as soon as possible. If there is a way to get the funds as expeditiously as possible in order to assist these situations, that would be greatly appreciated.

Hurricane Ian Relief Fund has been established assist district relief and recovery efforts.

If you live in the area and want to offer some assistance, click this link.

Shell Point President Martin Schappell reports:

As Hurricane Ian slowly approached Southwest Florida, our team of 1,100 employees worked non-stop to make necessary preparations.  These preparations included securing the campus, setting up two resident shelters, and establishing a portable kitchen and restroom facilities in the garage shelter. On Tuesday evening, as rain and wind bands crossed the community, our staff safely transported over 2,000 residents into the Island garage and Larsen Health Center shelters. During the storm our employees sacrificed being at home with their own families in order to continue to care for and serve our vulnerable residents.  Upon exiting the shelter, in the absence of running water and electric power, our employees immediately began the campus rebuilding process. They cleared streets, ensured resident homes were safe, provided residents with three meals per day, and offered healthcare services. They truly demonstrated our mission to be “dedicated to the service of God and the care of His people”. Sadly, when employees were able to return to their homes, many learned that their homes had been destroyed and that their vehicles were a total loss due to the flooding. To assist them in rebuilding their lives, we have established a Shell Point Employee Relief Fund with 100% of the proceeds directly going to our employees.  

While assessing the community for storm-related damage, it quickly became clear that every building and amenity at Shell Point was impacted. The 130mph winds and 7-foot storm surge left Shell Point with catastrophic wind and flood damage.  Examples of these damages include, 250 flooded residences, the roofs of every building, and 22 “totaled” fleet vehicles. While insurance will cover a portion of the loss, there will be much more needing to be done to fully recover and restore our community. As a result, the Shell Point Hurricane Recovery Fund has been created.  

Many residents, families, churches, and companies have reached out with grateful, caring hearts and asked how they can help. Tax deductible donations will make a huge difference in the lives of our dedicated staff and help support the greatest needs in our campus’ hurricane recovery. Gifts can be made here.


On Wednesday, September 28, Hurricane Ian pummeled Florida’s Gulf Coast with category 4-5 winds and storm surges, leaving millions without power, potable water, and working sewage systems before continuing on its destructive path north and east toward Georgia and the Carolinas.

Shell Point Retirement Community, a non-profit ministry of The Alliance located in Fort Myers, was hit hard by the storm. On Tuesday, in anticipation of Ian making landfall, Shell Point residents were safely and successfully relocated to the community’s two secure on-site shelters and remain safe as damage to the community is being assessed.

With approximately 2,500 residents and more than 1,200 employees, Shell Point is the largest single-site continuing care retirement community in the state of Florida. It provides independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, and a variety of amenities and support services for people 60 and older.

Please pray for Shell Point residents and staff as they assess the damage and begin the repair and restoration process. Pray especially for those with serious health issues, that their care will remain uninterrupted as they are transported from safe shelters back to their residences and care facilities.

Pray also for the many Alliance churches and families who suffered loss and damage and remain without power and other vital services.

Further updates will be posted as leaders from The Alliance Southeast district and Shell Point assess the damage and resulting needs.