By Kate Quesada
When a natural disaster comes through a region there are many opportunities to help those less fortunate. FishHawk resident Melanie Brockmeier-Jordy used her charity Operation Lotus to make life easier for as many as she could from flood victims to members of the National Guard in the wake of Hurricane Irma last month.
“When I returned from evacuating after the hurricane, I immediately knew I had to help,” said Brockmeier-Jordy who started Operation Lotus after her husband Leon passed away five years ago.
Operation Lotus’ mission is to restore hope for people going through a tragedy or life changing event, so Brockmeier-Jordy quickly jumped into action when she heard about the homes flooding on the Alafia River in Valrico and started working with Lithia-based charity Seeds to Hope to provide the victims with their immediate needs of food and water.
“One family needed a U-Haul and help cleaning out their home of everything that could be saved. In just a few minutes I had a whole group of volunteers for this,” she said.
Immediately following Irma, she organized a group of 10 local restaurants donating food for linemen working to restore power and National Guardsmen stationed in Plant City. She heard that linemen, who work long hours every day, many from different states away from their families, were not receiving good lunches so she rallied a team of volunteers to search out the workers and feed them hot meals.
“Our goal was to find a way boost their morale and let them know how truly thankful we were for their hard work,” she said.
After successfully feeding more than 250 linemen, Brockmeier-Jordy and her group focused their attention on the National Guard the next day, working with Peggy Davenport of Davenport’s Daily Delights, Bubba Que’s and Hungry Howies. Community members also contributed homemade desserts.
“The Captain told us it was the biggest morale booster they had received since starting the relief efforts,” said Brockmeier-Jordy.
Operation Lotus has many fundraisers coming up to raise money to help those in need in the community, including the Leon Brockmeier Memorial Gold Tournament in December, a bingo night at Hamburger Mary’s on October 2 and Poker Night at Summerfield Golf Club on October 15.
Visit www.operationlotus.org or call 541-8195.