United Way Suncoast will continue its mid- and long-term recovery efforts in the region with the help of a recent $869,000 disbursement from the United Way of Florida Disaster Fund. This latest infusion will boost the meaningful work that has already taken place in DeSoto County and Myakka City, areas hit hard by Hurricane Ian.
That work includes a collaborative effort with Amazon and Habitat for Humanity of DeSoto County and Myakka Community Center that saw the delivery of mattresses, bed sets and fungicide and sprayers in late December.
Amazon Answers The Call
The needs for residents in this area have gone beyond nonperishable food and water. Our team members have served as eyes and ears in the area, and community members requested the mattresses and fungicide due to the historic flooding Ian brought to their areas. The mattresses will replace water-logged bedding and the fungicide will kill the mold brought on by the flooding.
“Amazon is thankful for the opportunity to donate more than $25,000 worth of resources to United Way Suncoast to assist in their continued Hurricane Ian relief efforts,” said Sam Blatt, who is part of Amazon’s Economic Development team in Florida. “Amazon is committed to supporting the communities where it operates, and we hope these resources make a meaningful impact on the lives of those who need it.”
Disbursement Will Deliver More Impact
This effort composes just part of a $500,000 commitment United Way Suncoast made to disaster recovery in November. To leverage those dollars, the nonprofit launched a Make It Million campaign, inviting the public to match the $500,000 investment.
Now, dollars from that initial campaign and the additional $869,000 will be used to extend efforts across the nonprofit’s five-county footprint. United Way of Florida used a data-driven formula to determine disbursement amounts and 12 local United Ways received funds. Although the United Way Suncoast disaster-recovery team still needs to determine exactly how to use the disbursement, those dollars will go towards helping Ian victims.
Early Learning Also Draws Attention
The other support efforts continue. The organization’s United We Learn initiative focuses specifically on early learning, and there’s a clear need to help quality childcare centers that suffered structural and internal damage from Ian. As noted in this blog, Madea’s Loving Hands Childcare was one of several centers to receive support.
United Way Suncoast is partnering with Meals on Wheels Plus Manatee to provide weekend food backpacks for select elementary school students. Many early learning educators, as well as hurricane victims, possess a need for counseling in Ian’s aftermath. United Way Suncoast will work with Charlotte Behavioral Health and other agencies to augment mental health counseling throughout DeSoto County.
We’re also funding navigators as an extension of our successful United Way Suncoast eviction mitigation approach. Working with partners such as All Faiths Food Bank, Catholic Charities, Gulfcoast Legal Services and the Women’s Resource Center, navigators have guided community members through complex application forms for emergency rental assistance. Now the navigators will expand their scope and assist those seeking Federal Emergency Management Administration hurricane relief while sustaining a focus on housing needs.