Cedar Rapids man who snowbirds in Florida collecting donations

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 10:38 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - What started as a GoFundMe page by a Cedar Rapids man who also lives in Fort Myers, Florida, has grown more than he ever expected.

Zach Hale, an electrician who is from Cedar Rapids and works in Florida during the winter, started collecting donations at the Cedar Rapids Moose Lodge to help the millions of people impacted by Hurricane Ian.

“I realized, quickly, that I’m going to fill the truck,” said Hale. “We’ll have to take it to the next level and do everything we can.”

Hurricane Ian was a storm he knows all too well. His shop in Fort Myers was destroyed by the storm. He said he didn’t lose anything he couldn’t replace and wanted to give back. The donations he collected from people living 1,300 miles away from the hurricane’s destruction were coming from people who know what it was like to lose everything after the 2020 derecho. Hale had a tree fall on his camper.

“That’s why everyone is stepping up to help me,” he said. “Because of all the work I have put in and the things we’ve done in the past.”

Hale couldn’t believe how much had been donated in the first 48 hours, but he was prepared to take whatever he could to help the people in his winter hometown, Fort Myers, Florida.

“You can’t understand what it’s really like until you see everything destroyed,” said Hale.

Hale planned to continue collecting donations until this weekend. He’s starting his trip Saturday morning.