After Hurricane Irma knocked out power to Everyday Blessings, a foster home in Thonotosassa, the nearly 30 children who live there were left with no air conditioning and spoiling food in the refrigerators.
The operators first took them to a hurricane shelter, but it closed after one night of the storm, said Sister Claire LeBoeuf, a Catholic nun and founder of the home.
They tried to power two window air-conditioning units from a generator but it failed in the middle of the night.
"They were pretty desperate," LeBoeuf said. "You could stand it for maybe one night or maybe two, but after that the heat really gets beyond bearable."
Finally, the families and staff members at New Life Village, a nonprofit in the Palm River/Clair-Mel area that also was founded by LeBoeuf as a community for families raising foster and adopted children.
"We have two empty townhouses, which normally are for families, that we are using to shelter the children," said Mariah Hayden, who helps operate New Life Village
On Thursday, the families at New Life and the children from Everyday Blessing got together and enjoyed a hotdog cookout. What they'll eat after Thursday — until power is restored back in Thonotosassa — remained up in the air. So the staff at Everyday Blessing is seeking donations.
"They definitely have not lost their appetites during this difficult time — in fact, you know, you eat more when you are bored," Everyday Blessing wrote in a Facebook post.
"We are in need of meats, frozen family meals, ice, breakfast items, ice cream, anything that we can make a meal with along with."