We are all familiar with the weather risks we face on the Florida coast. In only 14 months, the U.S. has seen five major hurricanes make landfall with devastating results. Last year, we got our close call in Pinellas County with Irma. Now, our neighbors in the panhandle have been blasted by Hurricane Michael. That could just as easily have been us, and indeed we are all at risk of a similar fate year after year.
A lot of people want to help in the aftermath of this brutal storm, so here are a few ways that you can assist locally with ongoing relief efforts.
The City of Gulfport has secured a box truck at City Hall (2401 53rd St. S.). There will be someone there to monitor and assist with charitable donations between 9am and 4pm through Friday Oct 19th. Our goal is to fill the truck by Friday afternoon, and transport those goods to emergency operations centers in the panhandle by Saturday morning. We have been in contact with local leadership in the region and will be apprised of where to make delivery.
John Riesebeck of Smokin’ J’s Barbecue at 5145 Gulfport Blvd. S. is running his second collection drive of the month (after Hurricane Florence in September). He is collecting goods onsite at the restaurant and filling a box truck for relief transport. John and his team are aiming for a weekend departure as well.
St. Petersburg College is also collecting supplies this week from October 15 – October 18 at multiple campus locations. For more information, call Student Life and Leadership Coordinator Anjum Perfetti at 727-341-4480.
District 69 State Representative Kathleen Peters is also collecting items for transport at her district office located at 6798 Crosswinds Dr. N. St. Petersburg. Call 727-341-7385 for more information.
Here is a list of what is needed:
Non-perishable food (#1)
Hygiene and sanitary supplies
I have been in contact with all of these folks in the past few days, and our intent is to coordinate with all of these groups in order to get food and supplies to the victims as quickly and efficiently as possible. So, it doesn’t matter where you donate, but please donate. We will work out the rest. Between all of us, we can hopefully make the coming weeks a little more tolerable for those in need. Thank you for your help.