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Operation Blessing Delivers Aid, Even as Irma Hammers Florida

Hurricane Irma Operation Blessing

OCALA, Florida - CBN's Operation Blessing moved into Florida days before Irma arrived to prepare to help those who would need urgent aid.  

Irma made U.S. landfall Sunday morning as a Category Four hurricane, slashing through the Florida Keys before making landfall again on the Florida mainland near Marco Island and Naples.

It quickly downgraded to a still-dangerous Category 2 storm as it moved northward.

Flooding from storm surge and spin off tornadoes on both coasts were the greatest threats.

And as Hurricane Irma moved in, tens of thousands of Floridians sought refuge in shelters like one that CBN News visited at a school in Ocala.

Operation Blessing International's Bill Horan and David Darg wasted little time, providing help to those who needed it even while Irma was still hitting the state.  

We caught up with them loading and delivering relief, including a little comfort food, to evacuees sheltered at Vanguard High School.

"This particular high school is a dog-friendly environment. It's got 1100 people there and probably 400 dogs. We identified ourselves and they said, 'Oh, Operation Blessing I've seen your trucks out on 24th Street' because we've got this warehouse where we're standing in here," Horan said.

"And we said is there anything you need in the shelter that you don't have that you need. And he said, 'What I really need is some snacks. You got any snacks? A lot of kids there… lots of kids.' I like snacks, don't you? I do too. It might not be health food, but you know we all like snacks especially when you're sleeping on a floor in a high school," he said.

OBI also delivered cases of bottled drinking water and sugar free Powerade.

Troy Sandford is the principal of Vanguard High School.

"It's a wonderful opportunity so they can just sit back and take a deep breath and relax and have that snack, have that bottle of water and have that Powerade," Sandford said.

Horan says Operation Blessing's strike force is ready to deliver more extensive help later this week.

"Once the storm comes and goes we can send those trucks to those ministries that we have strong relationships with in the places that really need it the worst," he said.

While they've been helping evacuees who are actually living in schools and other shelters in the state, once the hurricane does pass, that's when the real work will begin.


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