The Local Charities You Can Support to Help Victims of Hurricane Irma

Image sourced from Poppy & Pinecone

Image sourced from Poppy & Pinecone

To say I am devastated by the destruction of Irma would be a great understatement. I remember first coming to Florida -- back then, I was a resident of Tennessee. I remember when my dad drove over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on his way back from his job interview. From the backseat, I saw the Gulf waters glow a deep emerald green-blue, the bay hustle and bustle with the life of sea creatures beneath the surface; above, there were boats cruising to and fro transporting goods and passengers. To me, it was a thrill just to escape for a brief second from the humdrum of the suburbs; To them, it was just business as usual. 

Fast forward to 2017 and Hurricane Irma has virtually decimated everything in its path: buildings smashed, glass shattered, trees uprooted. Life in Florida is now not a daily joy, but a complete uncertainty. Even in Philadelphia, my emotions are in turmoil as I agonize over both family and friends back home. 

Luckily in the face of natural disasters, people recognize the inherent need to stick together. Past disagreements, however trivial, are pushed aside, to face the coming storm and the consequences it brings with it together. With that in mind, I would like to bring your attention to four charities that merit your support. (All these groups have strong local ties to their communities) 

*You are not limited to just these organizations; feel free to donate to what causes you feel most strongly about in regards to the hurricane.* Beware charity scams however. You can always vet your donations using Charity Navigator, and find more charities in your local communities to support! 

  1. Heart of Florida United Way

Heart of Florida United Way is an organization based in Orlando, FL. It just launched its Hurricane Relief Fund. 100% of donations will directly go to residents of Orange, Seminole, and Osceola County. If you or your loved ones live in Central Florida, Heart of Florida United Way is devoted to helping you recover in whatever way possible. 

       2. All Faiths Food Bank

All Faiths Food Bank is located in Sarasota, FL. If you have any unused hurricane food supplies, please donate them. The Food Bank has already started to accept donations, so send them in! Canned food, protein in pouches, toiletries and paper goods (just to name a few) are highly encouraged! 

       3. South Florida Wildlife Center 

If you want to rescue & rehabilitate affected wildlife, this organization is for you. SFWC is funded entirely by the local community, and it receives no government funding. Since Hurricane Irma, many species both native and non-native to South Florida have been displaced. Help these animals find a home! 

        4. ConPRmetidos 

ConPRmedtidos, sponsored by the Professional Insurance Agents of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean (PIA), is looking for funds to rebuild infrastructure in the local area. All donations to them will go directly towards recovery from Hurricane Irma. The funds will go towards rebuilding homes, and providing food and shelter for affected inhabitants. Its goal is to raise $150,000, so please help them reach it!