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Kiwanis club planning intentional, long-term solutions to address devastation from Hurricane Michael

Steven Hadt | Oct 30, 2018

Kiwanis Club of Live Oak, FL, helps in hurricane relief

The Kiwanis Club of Live Oak, FL, helps after Hurricane Michael Jonathan King sees homes without roofs, trees torpedoed through walls and vehicles flipped over. The destruction from Hurricane Michael is everywhere — and he’s about a two-hour drive from where Hurricane Michael came ashore in October in Mexico Beach, FL.

“There is so much destruction in this area — Chipley, Bonifay, Vernon — these communities are out of the media spotlight. All the help is going to where the news crews are. We’re helping where the cameras aren’t,” King says. “Families who were already struggling to get by are devastated. There is no extra money or an emergency savings account. Kids need Kiwanis.”

King knows other organizations are better suited to deal with the immediate needs of his neighbors. He can’t get water and food to people like FEMA or the Red Cross can. He’s leading the members of the Kiwanis Club of DeFuniak Springs, Florida, to be specific and intentional about how they can help.  

“We want to be here for the long term. We are building infrastructure, so we can focus on the dozens of communities north of the shore,” he says.

The club is collecting cleaning supplies, bleach, rakes and shovels. Members are working with other clubs in the Florida District that also want to help. A club in Live Oak, Florida, just sent a trailer full of paper towels, toilet paper, water and garbage bags.

“So many areas are so bad,” says Kelly Cook Renfroe, president of the Kiwanis Club of Live Oak. “We are a tiny club, but our hearts are big.”

King is also expecting a shipment in the next couple of days full of work boots from Kiwanis partner Two Ten Footwear Foundation, the national charitable foundation of the U.S. footwear industry.

“Financial donations are going to help us more than anything,” King says. “We’re able to buy everything we need at or below cost.”

The Kiwanis Children’s Fund recently approved emergency grants for several clubs in the Florida District to buy diapers, toiletries and blankets.

“When disaster strikes, the Kiwanis family is there to help. So is the Kiwanis Children’s Fund,” says George Cadman, 2018-19 president. “With disaster relief grants, we are helping clubs and districts meet crucial, immediate needs in the communities they serve.”

Donations to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund can be made here.

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