JACKSONVILLE, Florida – In Fort Meyers Thursday, President Trump praised government responders who acted selflessly to save lives during Hurricane Irma.
"People thought thousands and thousands of people may have their lives ended and the number is a very small number, which is a great tribute to you," he said.
Then in Naples, the president and first lady received a warm welcome and cheers as they arrived at Estates Mobile Home Park.
They looked over the damage and listened to residents tell their stories about what happened during the storm.
Then they served up hoagie sandwiches to everyone for lunch.
"Let's make America great again!" one resident exclaimed.
"Come here…thank you very much. We love you," the president responded.
"God bless you sir," he said to President Trump, who told him, "Don't forget to take one, take another one. You're wearing the shirt, take two."
The president offered words of assurance that America won't forget Florida.
"I just want to tell you we are there for you 100 percent. I'll be back here numerous times," he promised. "I mean, this is a state that I know very well, as you understand. These are special, special people, and we love them. Thank you, thank you."
Floridians were encouraged to see the president serving up meals to residents of Naples, but perhaps more encouraging is knowing that CBN's Operation Blessing was on the ground in Florida long before Irma arrived.
Even before the hurricane threatened Florida residents, OB stacked supplies at its distribution warehouse in Ocala. As Irma's track became more certain, trucks were loaded and readied for delivery. Evacuees at school shelters got help.
How You Can Help: Give to CBN Disaster Relief
Partnering with local churches, OB has already delivered bottled water, food and other supplies to 10 of Florida's hardest hit cities.
In Naples on Thursday, a team of volunteers unloaded an OB truck filled with food and water ready for distribution to those in need.
Operation Blessing Vice President for U.S. Disaster Relief Jody Gettys said Naples has a diverse population.
"Naples is known as one of the wealthiest cities in America, but [it] also represents some of the poorest populations in America, so it's very diverse," Gettys said. "Today we are at Destiny Church with Pastor Greg, and we're delivering thousands of pounds of product – emergency food, water supplies, heater meals that people can heat up because there are widespread power outages."
She explained how the ready-to-eat meals are cooked without electricity.
"These are complete kits – spaghetti and meatballs. It looks like a TV dinner you'd get at the grocery store, but what is unique about this is it has the water that you need to pour on to the heating pad to activate it and then what you do is you slip it inside these boxes and then that becomes an oven," she said.
Pastor Greg Ball relayed how residents reacted when they received another hard-to-get item: bottled water.
"We went down the street just handing water to people," he said. "They were crying, hugging us, trying to pay us and we were like, this is not about money; this is meeting the needs of the community and that's what the Body of Christ is all about."
A donation from Aloha Church of Kauai, Hawaii, made the Naples distribution possible.
Demonstrating the Love of God
Pastor Ball says it's important for people to demonstrate care and concern for others in need.
"That's what we're all about in the Body of Christ, and we're so grateful to Operation Blessing and The 700 Club for all that they are doing," he said. "They are on the ground and God is doing big things, and we're so blessed to be partnering with you to see what God's going to do."
Not only is Operation Blessing in Florida. OB teams are still in Texas helping people in several cities hit by Hurricane Harvey.
And Operation Blessing is also in Mexico in one of the hardest hit areas after the massive 8.1-magnitude earthquake that hit last Thursday. OB is providing food, medical care and other specialized help for the elderly.