JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nearly a week after Hurricane Michael devastated a swath of the Florida Panhandle, efforts to help those whose lives were upended continue to grow.
Major organizations' relief efforts
The American Red Cross has more than 1,000 emergency workers and volunteers in the area and has 13 shelters open in nine counties, providing a place to stay, food, information and comfort to those who fled the storm. The organization is also staffing dozens of locations providing water, snacks and cleaning supplies in communities trying to recover. The Red Cross is soliciting donations to help with their efforts. (Donate online or by calling 800-435-7669).
The Red Cross also encourages people to give blood. It reports a critical need for both blood and platelet donations. You can make an appointment either online, through their blood donor app or by calling 800-733-2767.
The not-for-profit blood center OneBlood, can be found in almost all of the counties in Florida and in the southern regions of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. You can search for their blood drives onliine or by calling 888-936-6283.
Lifesafe, which serves hospitals in Alabama, Florida and Georgia, provides an online tool to find a donor center or mobile drive near you, or you can call 888-795-2707 to make an appointment to donate.
The Salvation Army already has 28 mobile feeding units deployed in and around Panama City and is serving more than 15,000 meals every day, with more resources in the Panhandle each day. To help, visit HelpSalvationArmy.org or call 800-725-2769.
Florida Baptist Disaster Relief has four feeding kitchens open in the Panhandle and is helping with cleanup and recovery at four sites. The group's website has information on how you can donate or volunteer "Please continue to pray for those impacted and for those serving," the group posted on Facebook.
WAYS YOU CAN HELP: Aid the victims of Hurricane Michael
Donate to Florida Disaster Fund
Volunteer Florida, the state's lead agency for mobilizing volunteers and coordinating donations before, during and after disasters, is promoting donations to the Florida Disaster Fund to support the thousands of Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael.
The Florida Disaster Fund is Florida's private fund established to assist statewide communities as they recover during times of emergency. In partnership with the public sector, private sector and other nongovernmental organizations, Volunteer Florida distributes the Florida Disaster Fund to voluntary organizations, such as the Salvation Army and Florida Baptist Disaster Relief, that are actively engaged delivering food and repairing and rebuilding homes, while offering financial assistance and other recovery-related services.
To donate to the Florida Disaster Fund, visit www.volunteerflorida.org.
Jacksonville-area community efforts
Maple Street Biscuit Co. community stores are collecting food and supplies to take to impacted communities. There are donation boxes in each store. Maple Street. Maple Street is also instituting Neighbors Helping Neighbors Wednesdays, where community stores will provide 50 percent of food orders when the customer brings in supplies for neighbors in need. The chain will keep doing this every Wednesday for the next two months. Maple Street is also adding to its website a link to Samaritan's Purse for Hurricane Michael relief.
In collaboration with the Clay County Education Association, the Clay County school district is partnering with students, staff, families and community members to bring assistance to those affected by Hurricane Michael. Schools will collect items starting Wednesday through Monday, Oct. 29. The district will pick up the donations from schools at the end of the drive and work with school districts in the Florida Panhandle to determine immediate needs. Link for more information.
B & B Movers is trying to fill a 26-foot truck with relief supplies in a campaign it is calling Go Truck Go Hurricane Relief. The truck will be located at 101 21st Century Drive from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. A list of supplies requested by Port St. Joe residents is on the campaign's Facebook page.
Communities Helping Communities, a St. Augustine-based Facebook group, is collecting supplies to fill a flatbed trailer offered by Collis Roofing Inc. to transport donations to help those affected by the hurricane. Collections will be taken until Oct. 22 at the following locations:
- Watson Realty Corp. 203 S. Highway 17, East Palatka
- Collis Roofing, 5750 U.S. 1 North, St. Augustine
- Awesome Hair Salon, 1408 Old Dixie Highway, St. Augustine
- The Lawn Ranger, 1660 State Road 16, St. Augustine
- Crescent Beach Baptist Church, State Road 206, Crescent Beach
- Ocean Grove RV Super Center, 6775 U.S. 1 South (corner of S.R. 206 and U.S. 1)
- A-to-Z Roofing and Waterproofing, 239 State Road 16, St. Augustine
- St. Johns County Fire-Rescue, St Augustine South Gate 2
- The Donut Experiment, 117 King Street, St. Augustine
- Watson Realty Corporate Office, 7821 Deercreek Club Road, Jacksonville
- Watson Realty of St. Johns, 175 Hampton Point Drive #1, St. Johns
- CATO, 1035 A1A Beach Blvd. St. Augustine Beach
- Burger Buckets, 3 Cordova Street, St. Augustine
- Home Instead Senior Care, 71 College Drive, Orange Park
- St. Johns River State College, campuses in St Augustine, Orange Park and Palatka
Organizers have posted a list of needed supplies on the Facebook page and ask that no clothes or expired food be donated.