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Florida Kiwanian coordinating hurricane relief efforts in Bahamas

Vicki Hermansen | Sep 06, 2019

Montero helps Bahamas

Elizabeth Montero When Elizabeth “Elle” Montero learned of the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, she sprang in to action. It’s what she does when she learns of people who need help.  

For about two years, Montero has been a member of the Kendall-South Dade and Florida City Kiwanis clubs in Florida. But she has been aware of the organization for much longer. She knew about the Little Havana club in Miami, but she hadn’t connected it to other Kiwanis clubs until a client invited her to a club meeting. She went — and she’s been hooked ever since.  

Montero’s efforts to help the residents of the Bahamas are intertwined with her Kiwanis club and division and her work with other nonprofits.  

“I think of myself as a spider web,” she explained. “I have all these webs out there and I have to see what I can catch and how I can connect it.”  

For relief efforts in the Bahamas, Montero is working with the Miami Diaper Bank, Friends for Global Change and the Irie Foundation. Her network includes a friend who has a plane — and his friend, who also has a plane. She also has other connections, clients and friends who want to help. Montero is confident she can secure enough donations to make her efforts successful.  

“I learned at my club meeting that in 2015, with Hurricane Joaquin, our club had a donation drive, so this is something where they feel they’ve been there, done that, and are here to do it again,” Montero said. “Kids need Kiwanis, and with the organizations I’m involved in, so many lists of what is needed have passed in front of me. As a club, we can decide how to help – so many things are needed. Let’s get back to what we stand for, focus our drive on the kids, with medicine and diapers and whatever …”

With that, her phone rings and someone else is calling for help. And then another call, from someone offering help.  

“I don’t have family in the Bahamas, but we have clubs there,” Montero says. “And I come from an island where resources can be scarce. It’s easy to forget about people whose lifestyle is different, they live in poverty areas and people think they are used to that. But that’s not right. We all have a right to be safe and healthy.” 

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