CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Josette Costa is leaving Clearwater and heading to South Carolina with enough donations she expects will impact hundreds, if not thousands of flood water victims.
Costa began a collection drive on September 12th, using Facebook to notify her friends, family and community. In just two weeks, hundreds of people donated food, hygiene products and other supplies.
“We actually made up hygiene baggies. And it has shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and soap,” said Josette Costa.
She also partnered with businesses such as My Natural Pet, Largo Feed, Archive Corp, World of Beer in West Chase, and Maxim Healthcare to place collection bins outside.
The Dollar Tree in Dunedin allowed her to stand outside its doors for two weekends, asking customers for donations. She was able to fill an entire room in her house with just donations from these two weekends.
“Some people donated one can of food. Some people donated 200 dollars worth of items from the Dollar Tree,” Costa said.
With thousands of dollars of donations, Costa said she will be using the money to buy more supplies for the victims.
Costa has accounted for all types of victims, from pampers to dog food. She will be distributing pet supplies to both flood victims and animal rescue facilities.
“They need food, supplies, cages to capture animals that were left behind by owners who just left them and evacuated without their fur babies,” Costa explained, as she was leaving My Natural Pet with a trailer loaded with food for cats and dogs.
Costa is a veteran when it comes to first relief trips. In 2016, she brought donations to flood victims living in Denham Springs, Louisiana near Baton Rouge, where majority of the homes were completely lost or severely damaged.
“Nobody was helping them. They were in there. They lost everything and they weren’t getting the support they needed. Instead of complaining about it, I decided to do something,” Costa said.
“When you help somebody who has nothing, it is the most rewarding feeling in the world.”
Costa plans to take time off from her travel nurse recruiting job to deliver supplies to people in need. She plans to travel to Conway, South Carolina on September 27th and stay through the weekend to assist in anyway.
She plans to go to the hardest hit areas and hand out supplies directly to the people. A few friends from her Skull Dogs Riding Club are helping her with the trip.