On September 10th, Collier County received a direct hit from Hurricane Irma, the largest hurricane to ever hit Florida, leaving behind major damage to Marco Island, Everglades, Chokoloskee, Goodland, Golden Gate, East Naples, and Immokalee as well as the City of Naples. This massive storm claimed 34 lives in Florida, two in Collier County. According to Collier County Emergency Management, Irma’s direct hit has incurred $64 million in recovery costs to date, caused 42,000 people in Collier to need some form of housing help (either in rent or hotel stays), qualified 256 people for FEMA trailers, and has racked up more than 4 million cubic yards of debris to be removed.
The Community Foundation of Collier County, in partnership with the United Way of Collier County, established the Collier Comes Together Disaster Relief Fund to provide assistance to Hurricane Irma victims in Collier County and the nonprofits that support them. Donors are assured that help will reach its intended cause. As the Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, all donations are tax deductible.
A few days after the storm, the Harry Chapin Food Bank was able to provide immediate relief for hurricane victims thanks to a $75,000 donation from the Collier Comes Together Fund. Around 494,045 pounds of food and water were distributed to families, children, seniors, and other Collier County residents. Also, with the support of the Community Foundation Board, and many donors such as the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, over $250,000 in gift cards, valued from $150-$250, were distributed through the Salvation Army Naples and Catholic Charities to residents of Golden Gate, Immokalee, and Everglades City and from other nonprofits to those who were affected by Hurricane Irma.
Through a donation from Collier Building Industry Association (CBIA), a $14,000 grant was given to Reach Out Everglades, which was matched by Lowe’s Home Improvement, allowing for the purchase of $28,000 in building supplies and appliances for residents of Everglades City, Goodland, and Chokoloskee. Over $190,000 in housing grants have been disbursed so far in Everglades City, Immokalee, and Downtown Naples.
The Collier Comes Together Fund has received over $1.3 million in commitments to date and has disbursed about $900,000 so far. 100% of donations collected are distributed to victims, with no administrative fee.
Donations to the Collier Comes Together Fund can be made online by visiting cfcollier.org or by checks mailed to the Community Foundation at 1110 Pine Ridge Road, Suite 200, Naples, FL 34108. Please make your check payable to the Community Foundation of Collier County and write Collier Comes Together in the memo line. Cash donations are also welcome.