TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Donna Elliott knows the personal struggles and heartache of watching a loved one live through a disaster.
For her, it's personal — so she's ready to use her business, the Square Mug Cafe in Tallahassee, to give back.
"Basically, the motivation is from Hurricane Katrina," Elliott said. "My uncle lives in Vancleave, Mississippi, and I remember being frustrated that I couldn't get back to him to take supplies because they weren't allowing people to travel there.
For her, donating money wasn't enough.
"It felt disconnected it didn't feel genuine," she said.
So when Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast region last week, she was inspired to give back.
"On Sunday morning, my first two customers were people from Louisiana that were here to get away from the hurricane," Elliott said. "I thought, 'These people were going to go home. They don't know what they are going to go home to."
Elliott isn't the only person wanting to lend a hand. People from all across Tallahassee have been dropping off supplies from toiletries, canned goods, and water at the cafe.
All of the supplies are set to head back to Louisiana with evacuees, like Sigmund Bloom.
"Since we've gotten to Tallahassee, everybody has truly had the spirit of 'let's do whatever we can to help you through these difficult times,'" Bloom said.
Bloom's home was luckily unscathed by Ida. However, it's currently without power. No power means no air conditioning in a city that sweats humidity.
"I know people who rode out the storm that left after because of no electricity (and) heat," Bloom said. "There are few of any services or emergency services."
This story was originally published by Dave Vogan on Scripps station WTXL in Tallahassee, Florida.