SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Convoy of Hope, a global relief organization based in the Springfield area, is preparing to send supplies to people who will be impacted by Hurricane Ian.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, Ian was confirmed as a category two hurricane and a hurricane warning was issued for the Tampa Bay area.

On Monday afternoon, a group of volunteers with Convoy of Hope started packing bags full of groceries for disaster teams to hand out to families after the storm hits. Those volunteers are also preparing emergency response vehicles and gathering other supplies.

The center of Ian is expected to near western Cuba Monday night and early Tuesday before it emerges over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. It will then pass west of the Florida Keys late Tuesday, and approach the west coast of Florida on Wednesday into Thursday.

“We’ve got to be able to take all the infrastructure that we need to be able to set up distribution, so for us, we never want to be a burden on the community,” said Stacy Lamb, the Senior Director of U.S. Disaster Services for Convoy of Hope. “We want to go in to be self-sustaining so everything that you see us setting up today, we’re taking in our own lodging, our own shower trailers, food trucks, all those types of things so that when we get there we can fully operate without being a burden on the community.”

Convoy of Hope also has team members in Puerto Rico, helping with recovery after Hurricane Fiona hit the island last week. Those crews have handed out more than 58,000 meals and 4,500 gallons of water.

You can donate to assist with Convoy of Hope’s disaster response at https://convoyofhope.org/.