When Hurricane Irma ripped through Florida, it destroyed 25 percent of the houses in the Keys and it left millions of people without power.
Rebuilding in the wake of such devastation is not easy, but for children, the situation becomes even more dire.
Thankfully, many people have stepped up to assist their fellow Americans during this difficult time.
Marc Bell is one such American. This entrepreneur is worth millions, but he is no Scrooge.
After Hurricane Irma hit, Bell and his wife, Jennifer, stepped up to the plate in a big way: They opened up their Florida mansion to foster children, taking in 70 foster children after they had to evacuate the SOS Children’s Village Florida.
The homes in the village were without power and running water, meaning the children and staff were unable to shower or turn on the lights or air conditioning.
When Bell, who sits on the board of the foster home, heard of this plight, he threw open the doors of his $30 million house and invited all the kids to come and stay with him.
“They were hungry. They were tired,” Bell told CBS12. “They lived in the gymnasium for a week. They hadn’t showered for a week and you saw how excited they were.”
And the mansion is pretty much every kid’s dream come true: The 27,000 square foot home has an arcade, a pool, air hockey tables, pool tables and much more.
The couple apparently never thought twice about opening up their home to these children. They can clearly empathize with what these children are going through in the wake of the hurricane.
“They don’t have a mom or a dad so they’re scared, and then their house parents, even know they’re there for them, they’re scared too,” Jennifer Bell said. “So to have these kids feel welcomed and to just feel comfortable, as a mom it just makes you feel like you’re doing something good. It’s knowing that later on these kids are going to look back and they’re going to want to help someone else.”
But Bell wanted to do even more for these kids. So he’s ensured that their days with him are as fun as possible: He hired a beauty team to come give manis/pedis, as well as children’s entertainers to come and make balloon animals and musicians to come entertain the kids with songs and music.
It’s wonderful to see how Hurricane Irma has inspired people to step up and give to their communities.
People are pretty grateful for Bell’s work, too.
One woman commented on his GoFundMe page: “As a former foster kid AND a foster parent, THANK YOU so very much for opening your home and your hearts in such a generous capacity! These young ones need stability and love right now, and what you’re doing is wonderful!”
Another woman wrote: “I have a very special place in my heart for foster children. God bless you for helping these kids, they are our future!”
If you want to support Bell and his amazing act of service to these foster children, you can help out by donating to his GoFundMe page. At last check, people had donated more than $82,000 toward the cause. All donated funds will be used to help rebuild the homes in the SOS Children’s Village, as well as helping to house the children and pay for the staff who cares for them. What a worthy cause!