Helping hands for neighbors

Irma supplies
The first of what organizers hope is a bunch of supplies headed to the Florida Keys were collected Sept. 20 at The Center of Anna Maria Island. - Kristin Swain | Sun

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – For residents who need help recovering from Hurricane Irma, there are islanders here to help. Volunteers and donors also are needed to help local and state-wide recovery efforts.

Holmes Beach Commissioner and one of the founders of Anna Maria Island “Home Sweet Home,” Jean Peelen, has a group of people ready and willing to lend a hand. The group is helping neighbors with post-storm cleanup and repair, particularly seniors. To request help or to volunteer, call Peelen at 941-896-5827.

Laurel Nevans is raising money for two long-time Holmes Beach residents to replace an HVAC unit. Thirty-year residents George and Dottie Mizzi lost their unit due to a power surge as electricity was restored to their home. Nevans started a Go Fund Me page for the project; as of Sept. 21, donors raised $5,160 of the $7,500 goal. Dottie Mizzi said all funds raised over the goal amount will go to benefit the Senior Adventures program and the Center of Anna Maria Island.

Firefighters and staff at West Manatee Fire Rescue are collecting donations to take to residents in Immokalee, located in northern Collier County. Needed supplies include non-perishable food, clothing, tarps, batteries, fuel cans, baby supplies, plywood, chainsaws, bottled water, insect repellent, flashlights, rakes and trash bags. Donations of other supplies are welcome. Drop supplies off at any of WMFR’s three fire stations or at the administration building, 6417 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. All donations will be taken to the Immokalee Fire District for distribution.

The Center of Anna Maria Island is partnering with Saltair in collecting donations traveling south to help with recovery efforts in the Florida Keys. The Center hopes to collect enough supplies to fill two containers traveling by boat to the affected areas. Items can be dropped off at Saltair, 5508 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, or the Center at 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria. Items needed include bottled water, non-perishable food, diapers, first aid kits, batteries, trash bags, cleaning products, insect repellent and flashlights. For more information, call the Center at 941-778-1908.