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  • Writer's pictureSteve Sanderson

United Way of Collier and the Keys Mobilizes Caring Power


Disaster Assistance Center Opens at Coastland Mall

 

For families directly impacted by the force of Hurricane Ian in late September 2022, time has not healed all wounds. Consider Priscilla Russell who spent 24 hours stuck in an attic while waiting for water to recede. She made it out alive even though her home suffered severe damage. Priscilla credits the work of United Way of Collier and the Keys for helping navigate the disaster recovery process and to be able to move back home. We are now positioned to assist even more families thanks to the opening of a Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) located in Naples at 2044 Tamiami Trail North on the western perimeter of the Coastland Center Mall property. This will provide a one-stop shop for those in need, with a variety of services and resources to assist with housing, food, and clothing, as well as help with replacing lost documents and accessing financial assistance.


In addition to these services, the center will also provide referrals for emotional support and counseling, as well as information and referrals to other community resources. We are deeply committed to supporting the residents of Collier County as they recover from the impacts of Hurricane Ian. The DAC is one of the many ways we are working to ensure that everyone has the resources and support they need to rebuild and move forward.



Leaders from Salvation Army and United Way of Collier and the Keys

Courtesy of Vito Palmisano Photography and the FL Everblades

Check Presentation from FORVIS for Hurricane Recovery

 


Representatives from pacesetting donors FORVIS and Fifth Third Bank were present at the DAC opening event. FORVIS, which ranks among the nation’s top 10 public accounting firms, donated $500,000 to support the DAC and other disaster recovery efforts in the area. The company’s partners and associates saw Ian’s devastation firsthand while meeting in our community just weeks after Ian hit. They took part in a United Way service project and left with a vision of how to make a greater impact. Leadership at Fifth Third Bank committed $100,000 to the hurricane relief fund. Those are just two examples of businesses and individuals coming alongside the United Way of Collier and the Keys as we strive to make our community whole again.


It is important we continue to share stories of impact and creatively reach more people with this important mission. In late February, I was honored to go on the ice and "drop the puck" with Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) Interim Superintendent Dr. Leslie Ricciardelli at a Florida Everblades hockey game. Two dollars from each of the 1,100+ tickets sold through CCPS went to support United Way of Collier and the Keys. Donors provide the resources for our support of 37 partner agencies and directly support services such as income tax preparation assistance, the 211 helpline, individual disaster case management, homelessness prevention, and much more. To donate or join the mission, I invite you to call 239.261.7112, visit online uwcollierkeys.org, or stop in and see us at 9015 Strada Stell Court, Suite 204, Naples, FL 34109. When we mobilize the caring power of our community, we collectively advance the common good.


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