The Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit, sponsored a kid-centric supply distribution event that served 332 families impacted by Hurricane Ian.

Held Oct. 22 at Sanibel Captiva Community Bank’s Bridge Bank location in Fort Myers, volunteers distributed children’s toys and books, backpacks, school supplies, pillows, sheets and blankets, as well as diapers, baby wipes and cleaning supplies. Hamburgers, hot dogs, fresh fruits and vegetables, potato chips, cookies and drinks also were provided, and a face painter and goody bags helped cheer up children impacted by the storm.

“The line started forming at 7 a.m. for a 10 a.m. event, which indicates the extreme level of need within our community for kid-centric supplies and materials,” said Jessica Stanfield, executive director of the Guardian ad Litem Foundation. “Seeing all of your belongings hauled to the curb or having to relocate is a traumatic experience for children, so we wanted to provide them with some items that would give them comfort, like stuffed animals and coloring books.”

The Guardian ad Litem Foundation supports volunteer child advocates who represent Southwest Florida youth who have been abused, neglected or abandoned as they navigate the judicial, education and child welfare systems. The nonprofit raises funds that help meet a child’s health, educational and social needs.

The supply distribution event was open to foster parents and court-appointed caregivers, as well as all Southwest Florida families who were impacted by Hurricane Ian. Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, which recently announced it was donating $100,000 to support relief efforts of local nonprofits, offered its centrally located Bridge Bank office to make the supply distribution event convenient for families in both Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

“For nearly 20 years, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank has been focused on strengthening our community, and we’re even more resolute in that quest after the hurricane,” said Amy McQuagge, vice president and director of marketing at Sanibel Captiva Community Bank and a board member for the Guardian ad Litem Foundation. “So many families and businesses are beginning the recovery and rebuilding process, and collectively we’ll need to continue providing resources and assistance until everyone in our community is back on their feet.”