In the hours, days and weeks after the Champlain Towers collapsed, killing 98 people and displacing hundreds, South Florida — and beyond — stepped up in a big way to help the victims.
“The tragedy in Surfside spoke to so many people around the world, our first donation came in within minutes of us populating the SupportSurfside.org site,” Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation, said. “We’re so grateful to those who have already given, the need is tremendous, and we are encouraged to see so many people continuing to give so generously.”
Groups fed first responders, people offered up space for the displaced to stay and others began massive fundraising drives to address the needs of those left behind. Millions have been raised so far.
“The philanthropic response to the Surfside disaster has been absolutely amazing,” said Jacob Solomon, president of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. “The Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s emergency appeal generated an unprecedented response with over 9,000 donations from Miami, North America, Israel and — literally — around the world. Compassion is the finest of human traits, and the response of volunteers, first responders and donors to this disaster has been both heartwarming and inspiring.”
Mary Ross Agosta, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami, said the disaster is something “South Florida will never forget.”
The Catholic Charities was among the many groups that were on the ground offering grief counseling and other services at the family reunification center.
And the work continues.
“So many people are starting their lives over,” Ross Agosta said. “They have nothing. This is a long-term recovery. We are in it for the long haul.”
Here are ways you can still help:
▪ Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami: The fundraising campaign allows Catholic Charities to continue to provide services to the victims. To donate, visit ccadm.org and select disaster relief or call 305-754-2444.
▪ GoFundMe Donation Campaigns: Many families and friends who created GoFundMe donation campaigns have yet to meet their goals and are still seeking help. GoFundMe created a fundraiser hub to easily find verified victim donation drives. There are more than two dozen open fundraisers.
▪ Neighbors 4 Neighbors: The nonprofit that partners with CBS4 and myTV33 News set up the Surfside Building Collapse Fund to help with long-term needs of the victims. To donate, visit neighbors4neighbors.org/surfsidefund or call 305-597-4404.
▪ Support Surfside: The large multi-organizational effort has raised $5 million to support families and victims of the disaster. Many local groups came together to create Support Surfside, including the Miami Foundation, the Coral Gables Community Foundation, the Key Biscayne Community Foundation and the Miami Heat. Anyone can continue to donate at SupportSurfside.org. Donations will be accepted through Oct. 20.
▪ The Greater Miami Jewish Federation: It has established an emergency assistance fund for the Surfside victims. To donate to the fund, go to www.jewishmiami.org or call 305-576-4000.
▪ The Shul of Bal Harbour: The synagogue, which is located only blocks from the collapse, set up the 8777 Collins Avenue Relief Fund to directly help the victims. To donate, visit www.theshul.org/8777.
▪ United Way: Under Operation Helping Hands, partnering with local media groups like the Miami Herald and Univision, donations can be made by going to the United Way’s website.