Native Chicagoan living in Florida collects donations for Hurricane Ian survivors

A native Chicagoan is going above and beyond to help a community nearly wiped off the map by Hurricane Ian.

Janeen Paulauskis spent half of her life in Chicago, born and raised in Bridgeport.

For the past 26 years, she has called Fort Meyers Beach home.

During the pandemic, she teamed up with other community members, spearheaded by the Fort Meyers Beach Community Foundation, to collect donations for hospitality workers.

At the time, they raised $65,000.


Now, she’s amplifying her fundraising efforts, putting together a website that’s collecting donations nationwide, for hurricane survivors.

"The cash that has come in, has come from across the country.  We've even had donations from the U.K.," said Paulauskis. "During season we have over 60,000 people that visit Fort Meyers Beach alone. They have condos here, they're from Chicago, they're from Wisconsin, they're from the Midwest, they're from New England…My dad is a retired Chicago firefighter.  There is an apartment complex they call 'The Compound' and all of the fireman live there off season, on their vacations, on their furloughs."

Paulauskis says one hundred percent of the donations will benefit Fort Meyers Beach residents, along with surrounding communities.  

If you want to donate, visit