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'People need help' : Orange County business, non-profit organization partnering up to help victims of Hurricane Ian

Officials from Florida said the powerful storm left parts of the state “not habitable."

ORANGE COUNTY, Texas — An Orange County business and non-profit organization are partnering up and asking communities to help them, so they can help those affected by Hurricane Ian. 

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida as a Category 4 storm and has been described as one of the strongest storms to have ever hit the U.S. 

Officials from Florida said the powerful storm left parts of the state “not habitable," left hundreds of thousands without power and claimed more than 70 lives.

Top Deck Inc. is partnering with the Mauriceville Heritage Association to help victims of Ian in anyway they can. The company and non-profit are accepting donations until Friday, October 7, 2022 and hope to be in central Florida by Sunday, October 9, 2022. 

Donations can be dropped off at Top Deck Inc. located at 10861 Highway 62 in Orange.  

J.W. Dalton is the CEO of Top Deck Inc., and Chris Sowell is the president of the Mauriceville Heritage Association. Both agree that Southeast Texans know the damage and destruction a major hurricane can bring. 

"Here in Mauriceville, we understand what those people are going through, being flooded twice up here," Dalton said.

Sowell feels that when storms did affect the Lone Star State and its inhabitants, communities from all over the nation pitched in to help. 

“It could have just easily been us,” Sowell said. “You know, I hate that it went to Florida, but he could have just easily came here. We've seen it here firsthand. If it wasn't for support from other communities, from other areas that aren't affected, the cleanup process is a lot harder."

Dalton and Sowell planned to leave for Florida by Wednesday, but extended the deadline. 

"We're just trying to get everybody involved," Dalton said. "We are trying to bring enough materials in here to bring for Friday."

There are many items Southeast Texans can donate to support the cause.

"We are trying to get unperishable food," Dalton said. "We are trying to get toiletries together, even adult diapers. Toothbrushes, toilet paper. Just, essential thing you know, baby food, dog food."

They are also encouraging people to donate cleaning supplies.

 "One thing we’ve learned through all the floods and hurricanes we 've been through here, is you can never have to much bleach, trash bags," Sowell said. "Cause the clean up process is pretty extensive after stuff like this." 

So far, the trailer they are bringing to Florida is about a quarter filled. 

"We are just to get enough stuff in and gat a trailer load down there," Dalton said.

The two men agree that donating supplies is more helpful to Floridians who are struggling than donating money. 

"One of the issues will be, with the folks there, is there is not going be any place to buy stuff," Sowell said. "If you were to bring them money, it would be harder for them to go buy anything with it. So, it's easier for us to get it here and bring it to them."

However, if all someone can give is a monetary donation, they will accept it. 

"If we can get the supplies, that would be great," Dalton said. "If we can’t get supplies from someone, and they want o give us money, donate money, then we’ll go here locally and buy the supplies."

Regardless of what a person can give, Dalton and Sowell are just encouraging everyone to give. 

"Come on out and support the cause. People need help," Sowell said. 

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