DeSantis visits Chiefland, awards $1.6 million

Gov. Ron DeSantis and first lady Casey DeSantis present checks for Hurricane Idalia relief.
Gov. Ron DeSantis and first lady Casey DeSantis presented checks for Hurricane Idalia relief Friday night in Chiefland.
Photo by Seth Johnson

Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped by Chiefland for a Friday night under the football lights as the Indians hosted the Suwannee County Bulldogs, who were returning to action following Hurricane Idalia.

Before the game, DeSantis presented nine checks to local schools, churches and volunteer organizations for Idalia relief. The checks combined to $750,000 and come as part of the first batch from the Florida Disaster Fund, totaling $1.6 million. The Florida Disaster Fund has raised $3.7 million so far from private donations.

“The Florida Disaster Fund allows us to cut through red-tape and get funds into the hands of these organizations quickly,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Our teachers, volunteer organizations, and churches have done a great job helping the community recover, and I am glad we can support them with these awards.” 

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First lady Casey DeSantis encouraged those wanting to help after the hurricane to donate online and help communities return to a sense of normalcy.  

DeSantis noted that all power has now been restored following Hurricane Idalia. U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack and state Sen. Keith Perry were also with DeSantis for the announcement at the start of the game.

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the start of the Chiefland vs. Suwannee football game.
Photo by Seth Johnson Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the start of the Chiefland vs. Suwannee football game.

The first round of $1.6 million included the following recipients: 

$700,000 was awarded to seven education foundations to support impacted teachers. 

  • $100,000 to Dixie Education Foundation, Inc. 
  • $100,000 to Hamilton County Public Schools Foundation 
  • $100,000 to Lafayette Penny Foundation 
  • $100,000 to Levy County Schools Foundation 
  • $100,000 to Madison County Foundation for Excellence in Education 
  • $100,000 to Suwannee Education Foundation 
  • $100,000 to Taylor County Education Foundation  

$700,000 was awarded to support charitable organizations assisting in disaster response efforts, including:   

  • Adventist Community Services 
  • Cajun Navy Ground Force 
  • Catholic Charities 
  • Convoy of Hope 
  • Feeding Florida 
  • Florida Baptist Convention Disaster Relief 
  • Florida State Animal Response Coalition 
  • Mercy Chefs 
  • Operation BBQ Relief 
  • Salvation Army 
  • Second Harvest of the Big Bend 
  • Team Rubicon 
  • ToolBank USA 
  • Florida Methodist Church Disaster Relief  

$200,000 was awarded to local community churches that were impacted by the storm, including First Baptist Church of Horseshoe Beach and Redemption Center Church of Crystal River.

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Susan Bottcher

Seth: Did the funds come from the federal government and if so, which program? Seems good reporting would include the source of so much money and the legislative body that made it possible. Gov. DeSantis didn’t just create millions of $ out of thin air.


The State of Florida has large reserves for emergencies like hurricane recovery. It’s actually a part of the budget in the state.