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Islander Grateful for SCCF Help with Hurricane Cleanup

November 2, 2022

Carrie Toothman wells up with emotion as she talks about the herculean help that SCCF staff brought to her devastated ground-level home on Ibis Lane this week.

“There aren’t enough thank yous in the world to express my gratitude,” said Toothman, a single mom with a cleaning business on Sanibel. “SCCF moved mountains for me and helped me with work I never could have done on my own.”

Eight staff members responded to Toothman’s plea for assistance at her home adjacent to the Puschel Preserve that was flooded by five feet of water in Hurricane Ian. 

“In one hour, they cleared the tangled trees that were blocking the door and the front yard, and hauled out my refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher,” she said. “Then, today they got my hot water heater and dryer out. They couldn’t get the washer because it’s still full of water.”

With all her belongings drenched by the surge, Toothman said the team also carried ruined clothing, mattresses, a box spring, blankets, towels, and couches to the curb.

While setting up the Puschel Preserve as a staging site for debris, SCCF staff became aware of Toothman’s desperate need for assistance.

Under the direction of SCCF CEO James Evans, staff members have been instructed to help the community out whenever possible since immediately after the hurricane. This week, they turned their attention to giving back to SCCF volunteers by helping out with cleanup tasks at their homes. At the same time, team members have also been focused on the conservation work that is central to SCCF’s mission to protect and care for Southwest Florida’s coastal ecosystems.

Speaking to how the SCCF staffers have balanced their work over the past five weeks, Evans said, “I could not be more impressed by your hard work, dedication to our mission, and the compassion that you have all demonstrated towards our community. We continue to receive praise from residents and business owners for our work and I want to assure you that we are making a difference.”

Toothman’s home before staff cleared the yard


The SCCF crew in Toothman’s kitchen



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