Destruction of Hurricane Ian

Written for Sanibel’s Best by Jesi Cason

When Laurie and her daughter, Alice, decided to go into business together, nothing sounded as sweet as opening up an ice cream shop! The duo moved to Sanibel Island, a beloved travel destination, where they purchased and rebranded an ice cream shop and became true fixtures of the community. Sanibel’s Best Homemade Ice Cream and Sanibel’s Best Bakery & Coffee Shop was born!

It was rare to walk into the ice cream shop and not see Laurie or Alice (or both) working tirelessly to create sweet treats for vacationers and locals on Sanibel Island. These two women are not the types to open a business and leave the operation to be run by employees -they put their heart and soul into this business and dedicated themselves to the community. Sanibel’s Best partnered with the Captains for Clean Water, raising money for a full year to support environmental education regarding Florida’s estuaries and Everglades.

On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian tore through Southwest Florida, decimating homes and businesses across the region. The shop, owned by Laurie and Alice, and the home they shared were not spared. While they have not been able to access the island to capture photos of the damage, reports are that very few structures survived the storm. Transportation to and from the island has been severely limited due to the Sanibel Causeway Bridge being damaged, leaving the island accessible only by boat. Businesses and residents may not be able to start rebuilding for months, and the island could take years to get back to normal.

This storm has irrevocably changed Southwest Florida, and many businesses will not be able to rebuild and remain in our community. Sanibel’s Best has no intention of abandoning Sanibel – and Laurie and Alice need our help to rebuild. One day, Sanibel will be a paradise again, and Sanibel’s Best Homemade Ice Cream will be proudly serving desserts to everyone who loves the island as much as Laurie and Alice do!

My name is Jesi, and Alice and Laurie are my friends. Small businesses are the lifeblood of this community, and we want to be sure that when Sanibel is rebuilt, all the small business owners that make it such a special place are able to return!

Funds raised will go directly to Laurie and Alice Verme, owners of Sanibel’s Best Homemade Ice Cream and Sanibel’s Best Bakery & Coffee Shop, and full-time residents of Sanibel Island to assist them with rebuilding their business, home, and lives. October-May is the tourist season and the time of the year where businesses on Sanibel make the bulk of their income – so we would like to reach our fundraising goal by the end of 2022 to help Laurie and Alice weather the next few months.

You can help by DONATING TODAY

Second Annual Captains For Clean Water Fundraiser

Captains For Clean Water joins forces with Sanibel’s Best Homemade Ice Cream again this season for a year-long fundraising effort supporting education on the issues facing Florida’s estuaries and Everglades. Captain Chris Whitman invented the popular Dolphin Tracks flavor in 2020 to bring attention to water issues education. “Every scoop of Dolphin Tracks sold raises funds to support water education and outreach,” said Wittman, a self-proclaimed ice-cream lover. “We are pleased to continue this effort into the second year in partnership with Sanibel’s Best Homemade Ice Cream.”

The Captains for Clean Water 2021 gift-basket raffle is underway at Sanibel’s Best Homemade Ice Cream, 362 Periwinkle Way. Captains will be presented with the 2020 fundraising check and raffle winners will be announced on March 12. “Captains for Clean Water are fighting to overcome the most important challenge facing our community,” said Laurie Verme, owner of Sanibel’s Best Homemade Ice Cream. “I grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and my father was a bayman,” explained Verme. “I recall dolphins swimming in Long Island Sound until the water became unfit; they migrated south and so did we. Now with the risk of history repeating, my family and I want to take a stand clean water. Water is life and is the most important part of our world. Working with Captain Chris and his team, we aim to make a difference and hope to turn heads in government at all levels.”

We encourage the public to stay informed and consider becoming a member of Captains for Clean Water,” continued Wittman. “Water quality impacts everything from our economy to our way of life. We invite everyone to join us as advocates for long-term, science-based solutions to the man-made water crisis in South Florida.”

A select number of high-profile gift baskets representing the generosity of island businesses will be raffled in support of Captains for Clean Water, ranging from “A Day at the Beach” to “Jewelry Spectacular.” The raffle will be open until the afternoon of March 12, 2021.

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