TikTok Influencer Kat Stickler Is Raising 100K To Help Hurricane Ian Victims Who Lost Their Homes
The aftermath of Hurricane Ian continues to affect the lives of those in its path, particularly those living in places like Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island, where the Category 4 storm hit directly. Ian’s 150 mph winds left at least 127 deaths, and tens of thousands of homes left to rubble.
Now, exactly one month out from the hurricane’s September 28th landfall in Southwest Florida, people are coming together to help out those who lost their homes — including TikTok influenced Kat Stickler.
As she explained to mitú, Stickler is using her platform to make powerful change, partnering with organization All Hands and Hearts to raise $50,000 for Hurricane Ian victims on her Instagram page by October 31. Even better, the amount will be matched dollar-to-dollar by a member of the charity’s board, upping the donation to $100,000.
Stickler spoke about her own experience with Hurricane Ian, as she currently lives in Tampa — less than two hours from Fort Myers. She explained what it felt like to go through mandatory evacuation with her baby daughter, MK. “I had the baby, it’s different when you have someone relying on you. It was super scary, I didn’t know what I would come back to. I took important things to me.”
The hurricane no doubt hit close to home to Stickler, who describes how the storm “just turned, it could have been anyone,” a fact that still gives her “goosebumps” when she thinks about it.
Visiting Fort Myers six days after the storm hit, Stickler decided to partner with All Hands and Hearts to work with Hurricane Ian victims in the city who lost their homes, bringing more awareness to the tragedy.
“I was so surprised at the smell, because the water is drying but it’s molded now, and you have septic systems that have been backed up and it’s all overflowing in every single belonging of the house, ” she described.
As Stickler learned more about the victims who had lost their homes, their partners, and almost everything they owned, it was all about understanding how she could help.
She said visiting the homes of these people ignited in her the urge to do what she could to raise money. The biggest problem? Once media coverage of natural disasters lose momentum, “all of a sudden people aren’t donating as much… but they’re still left with nothing.”
So Stickler decided to set up the fundraiser alongside the charity organization, after being on the ground and opening up her eyes to how much time and money is needed to rebuild. “This is going to take so much time, it’s definitely not even close to overnight.”
Now at over $46,000 raised, Stickler attributes the amount to both her followers and bigger businesses like Tito’s Vodka that donated $25,000.
The influencer wants to hit $50,000, get it matched, and “just keep going after that.”
The influencer explained to mitú heartbreaking stories of Florida residents, like a Fort Myers disabled veteran she visited who had lost her home and told the team the devastating experience of watching her things floating around in front of her, “things you’ve worked so hard for, so many memories. It really puts into perspective what matters.”
Another aspect to hurricane after-effects many people don’t realize is that over 80% Floridians do not have flood insurance. As Stickler explained, FEMA only covers up to $35,000 — not nearly enough to rebuild entire homes. With the hurricane primarily affecting “underserved communities,” helping out becomes even more important.
If interested in donating, simply navigate to Stickler’s Instagram page on your phone and you’ll see the donation link right under her IG bio.