Early this morning, Hurricane Idalia made landfall near Keaton Beach, Florida causing heavy damage and dangerous flooding in multiple areas including Tampa and Tallahassee. It is considered a Category 3 hurricane and has been “weakening quickly since then over northern Florida,” according to the National Hurricane Center.

“The eye of Idalia has left the state of Florida,” says Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during today’s afternoon press conference. “The state is still being impacted by the storm’s bands.”

As of this afternoon, there are around 262,000 people already having their power restored, as stated in the press conference. However, over 270,000 people are still without power and in need of restoration. Restoration and aid efforts are still ongoing.

Power outages affect all areas, including food. Here are some food safety tips when returning home after a power outage from Florida Division of Emergency Management:

1. Don’t taste the food

2. Use a thermometer to check food temperature

3. Throw away food that is 40+ degrees Fahrenheit for more than 2 hours

All in all, when in doubt, throw it out. 

The state of Florida sends food to participating food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, and organizations, according to the Florida Education Association, to feed those affected by a disaster. Here are other resources and volunteer opportunities to help those affected by Hurricane Idalia:

American Red Cross

Red Cross has mobilized more than 500 disaster responders, along with 45 specialty response vehicles and truckloads of supplies including around 100,000 ready-to-eat meals and enough shelter supplies to support 20,000 individuals. You can help by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or texting the word IDALIA to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Donate to the Disaster Fund

Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund are made to the Volunteer Florida Foundation and are tax-deductible. According to their website, Visa has committed to waive all interchange fees associated with Hurricane Idalia Florida Disaster Fund donations. You may also donate via cell phone by texting DISASTER to 20222 to donate $10 or DISASTER25 to 20222 to donate $25.

Contact Volunteer Florida at 850-414-7400 or info@volunteerflorida.org for any questions. 

Feeding America

Feeding America will begin working with local partners to assess needs specific to their communities with emergency food distributions. They have already staged “12 truckloads of disaster boxes which are available to arrive within 2 days of landfall, and 15 truckloads of water are also staged across the Southeast United States for quick delivery,” according to their website. To help, you can donate to their disaster response fund.

For any more donations or volunteer work, follow affected food banks on social media. These local spots will know what they need most to respond to in their community including food, funds, or volunteers.