Waterford nonprofit DRAW is sending relief - and hope to victims of Hurricane Idalia

For those suffering from Hurricane Idalia, there is help on the way from Metro Detroit.

FOX 2 met with the volunteers of  DRAW — Disaster Relief At Work — as they packed a vehicle with supplies to head down south.

Since early Wednesday morning we’ve seen images of Idalia slam parts of Florida as it moves through the southeast. Strong winds have battered trees and buildings. 
neighborhoods in the Tampa area are underwater.

But in a warehouse hundreds of miles away in Waterford — there’s a calm before volunteers travel into the aftermath of the storm.

"Considering when this storm first started, it looked like it was going to be pretty minor," said Kris Schmidt. "It’s really intensified a lot, but it’s great being able to support people in disaster situations."

Schmidt is DRAW’s warehouse operations manager.

Along with the tarps for roofs and debris, buckets of cleaning supplies and flood bags, the volunteers will deliver hope.

"I wanted to do something for people that are in need," said David Masters. "I worked for 50 years doing all kinds of things and made people money. Now, I’d like to give back to the community."

A map in the warehouse shows all the emergencies where the organization has lent a helping hand.

In 2021, DRAW responded to disasters with a combined 2,000-plus volunteers logging more than 19,000 hours of help.

Hurricane relief isn’t new, but Idalia is the first major storm to hit the southeastern states this year. For the volunteers who’ll spend sleepless nights away from home, it’s a labor of love.

"I love working with Kris and his warehouse," said volunteer Karen Walko."My husband and I are recently retired. So we love making sure we’re helping out the people in Florida."

DRAW’s volunteers plan to drive 17-hours to Florida. If extra supplies are needed, people will return to their headquarters - pack up, load another vehicle, and send it down. 

For more information on DRAW and the work it does, go to drawbuckets.org