The year 2017 has been an especially active hurricane season. There have been 13 unnamed storms in the Atlantic and, in the past four weeks, three major hurricanes have ravaged the United States. The first major storm was Hurricane Harvey, which killed 83 people and left devastation in its wake. Harvey damaged over 100,000 homes, flooded neighborhoods and displaced over 30,000 people in Texas and Louisiana. Then Hurricane Irma swept through Florida and the Caribbean. Thousands were left without power and many are still homeless. At least 41 people died. Hurricane Maria, a Category 3 storm, hit Puerto Rico and Dominica, killing at least 17 people. Maria brought powerful winds and torrential downpours, washing out roads, uprooting trees and demolishing homes.
You might be wondering how to help the victims of these storms. First of all, take precautions to avoid being a victim of a scam, which become prolific after a major disaster such as Hurricane Irma. It’s always a good idea to do research before donating by checking scores from independent groups like Charity Watch or Charity Navigator.
Donating money to relief efforts is usually the best way to help, according to The Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI). If you feel a need to give material items (like food, blankets or toys), ensure the items are needed by checking with the relief organization first. There is always a need for volunteers, so consider assisting in person if you are able to do so. Here are local organizations in Florida that are participating in the Hurricane Irma relief effort.
These organizations are collecting food items and monetary donations. It’s best to call them to find out what they need.
All Faiths Food Bank – 941-379-6333
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida – 407-295-1066
Florida Food Pantries – foodpantries.org/st/florida
Gulf Coast Community Foundation (immediate relief and long-term recovery efforts) – 941-486-4600
Habitat for Humanity (rebuilding destroyed homes) – 305-294-9006
Operation Blue Roof (Help with damaged roofs) – 888-766-3258
Neighborhood Health Clinic (addressing victims medical needs) – 239-529-2255
GoFundMe (monetary donations or create a fundraiser) – https://www.gofundme.com/raise-funds/Irma
Amazon Wish List – Look for Keys Relief & Keys Relief Miami October 2017
Heart of Florida United Way (food, shelter and health services) – 407-835-0900
United Way of Miami-Dade (food, shelter and health services) – https://unitedwaymiami.org/
Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade (donations of items and money) – 305-446-9910
Donation requests include: water, bug spray, baby products, hygiene products, non-perishable food that’s easy to pen and presorted clothing for children and teenagers. Supplies can be donated through Place of Hope (helps abused children and families) – 561-775-7195
Wildlife & Animal
South Florida Wildlife Center (animal rescue and rehabilitation) – 954-524-4302
Brigid’s Crossing Foundation (cat rescue and sanctuary) – 239-825-3322
Lanier Upshaw wants to make sure you and your loved ones receive the assistance you need following Hurricane Irma. Check out our Hurricane Irma News and Info Page for hurricane news, information and your carrier contact info here.