The temptation is to pack up supplies to send. Resist.
Make a cash donation to a reputable, local charitable organization. Supplies, no matter how well intentioned, too often end in towering piles with no efficient way of distributing them.
Cash is a far better idea. A donation to the right group means funds are used well and go directly to the locals who need them most. Over the past two weeks, there’ve been countless suggestions — and equally as many potentially self-serving online funding campaigns. Our Facebook Page, Key West Hurricane Irma, vetted all requests before posting them
On Sept, 13, when Key West resident Quincy Perkins posted his own vetted list, we knew this would be the best solution for those wanting to contribute. Quincy is director of development for the Key West Film Festival, director of the Key West Photography Festival and creative direction of the White Orchid Studios.
Quincy Perkins’ complete list from his Facebook page:
Here is an official, verified list of Florida Keys Charities that really need your help. Please share and donate today!They are all on the ground in the Keys already helping. Lots of options! (Thank you to Michael Marrero, Jenn Stefanacci and Joanne Bachman for all your help with this.)
United Way of the Florida Keys: Will be accepting donations and distributing donations through their partner agencies across Monroe County including feeding programs, after-school care, and emergency gap services. www.keysunitedway.org
The Florida Keys Outreach Coalition: Seeking funding to help clients of FKOC’s homeless shelters and supportive housing programs, funding prevention and intervention services to help community members with rent, necessary living expenses, replacement clothing, food, relocation funds and other needs throughout Monroe County. Donations can be made through PayPal or Just Give at http://fkoc.org/donate.html or by contacting email@example.com .
Monroe Association of Remarkable Citizens: Seeking funds to help cover the costs of evacuating their clients out of Monroe County and providing housing and basic life-sustaining needs, as well as coping with massive damage to their main building. Donations can be made online at www.MARChouse.org or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
AH of Monroe County: Seeking funds to assist clients affected by HIV with costs related to evacuation, relocation, health care and living expenses as Monroe County picks up the pieces after Hurricane Irma. www.ahmonroe.org/giving
Catholic Charities: Donations can be designated for Monroe County in the note section through the diocesan website at www.ccadm.org Catholic Charities provides rental assistance countywide for any community members in need.
KAIR: Will be providing recovery assistance in Marathon, including food and basic necessities such as diapers and medicine. Donations can be made at www.kaironline.netthrough Paypal.
Womankind: The healthcare provider for women, men and teens in the Lower Keys will work with patients to ensure that their family-planning and healthcare needs are being met. Many patients are service-industry employees who depend on tourism. As our tourism economy regenerates, Womankind will offer reduced-cost services so no one is left without needed care. www.womankindkeywest.com
First Baptist Church Islamorada: Seeking funds to support community meals and support services to get all community residents’ lives back in order. They offer a clothing closet and food pantry. Donations can be made at www.fbcislamorada.org
Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition: Assists pregnant women, infants, children up to age 5 and their families throughout Monroe County with diapers, wipes, formula, safety items, clothing, prenatal care, car seats, safe sleeping beds and practices. http://keyshealthystart.org/
S.O.S. Foundation: Operates a massive food distribution program and is in need of a new roof for their food services to gain a new base as soon as possible. Donations can be made at http://www.sosmission.org/
FLKeys SPCA: The shelter evacuated 200 animals last week and hopes to bring them all back ASAP — and will be overrun with newly abandoned animals who will need care and possibly medical attention upon return. It also will need foster homes for owners who will be living in temporary places that don’t allow pets. www.fkspca.org
Southernmost Boys and Girls Club: Will be helping to watch kids while parents clean up and get lives back in order. Donate at http://southernmostboysgirlsclub.com/
Key West Wildlife Center: KWWC needs funds to repair damaged outdoor recovery cages, replace food supplies lost without refrigeration and care for native wildlife injured in the storm. www.keywestwildlifecenter.org
Sister Season Fund: Established to help locals in the tourism-related industry when temporary financial emergencies occur. We believe these individuals make up the island’s infrastructure and we can’t afford to lose them. Typically they have little in the way of reserves, insurance or benefits. Qualified applicants can receive financial assistance to help keep a roof over their heads and keep the utilities turned on. Donations can be made at SisterSeason.com.
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Other worthy local organizations from our own list:
Samuel’s House: Serves women, women with children and intact families. It will be accepting and distributing donations of clothes, food, water. All cash donations go back into the community as well by helping affected families and individuals with everything from medical expenses, clothing, and basic needs to housing and utility assistance. samuelshouse.org