BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s been five days since Hurricane Ian left nothing but devastation to Florida’s Southwest coast. The families from Western New York, that I spoke to last week, are all safe, but are helping their communities and others pick up the pieces left behind.

“It’s so sad, because you see all of that and you’re grateful that it’s not you but your heart just aches for the families that have literally lost everything,” said Anna Greco, a former Clarence resident, that now lives near Tampa. “If we got hit the way we were supposed to get hit and lost everything you would hope people in other areas would step up and help out as well. I mean these people have nothing they have no electricity, they have lost their homes, everything.”

Greco is thankful that her home didn’t get hit as much as other areas in Florida, but that her community is coming together to donate everything they can.

For others, Hurricane Ian struck, and left their neighborhood in devastation.

“Our neighborhood still does not have power, or water, or internet,” said Amanda Tilley, a former Buffalo resident that now lives in San Carlos Park Florida, which she says is roughly 8 miles away from Fort Meyers Beach.

“The wind was so loud, I thought our house was going to blow away, or the roof would come off,” Tilley said. Tilley and her family hid in their master bedroom closet for six hours, as Ian struck the coast on Wednesday. They came out to see their backyard covered in fallen trees, and their pool cover broken.

However, she is grateful that their neighborhood isn’t damaged as bad as others.

“We are very fortunate but many people are not as much, and this area thrives off of tourism and all of the beaches are destroyed. Not just Fort Meyers Beach, all of the state beaches are completely destroyed,” said Tilley. “It’s been a traumatic experience from the physical storm, but watching the community come together has been really heart warming and amazing to see.”

Since Wednesday, The National Guard, Red Cross and thousands of volunteers have traveled in to help pick up the pieces left behind, and offer relief for those in need.

Tilley says her community especially is looking for donations of all kinds; diapers, clothing, hygiene products, money, food — everything. She says there are a lot of displaced families that are also looking for places to stay, and encourages anyone that can offer a place to stay, donate goods or just be there in support.

If you are interested in helping Red Cross Relief efforts with Hurricane Ian, head to their website here.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.