Vol 5 No. 52 - September 14, 2005
New Island HEART to offer
SUN PHOTO/PAT COPELAND
From left, Joe and Michelle White and their 4-year-old
son, Riley, accept a check for $1,000 from Judy
Giovanelli, of Duncan Real Estate. They will use
the money to relocate to Gary, Indiana.
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writers
The Island community is opening its arms to victims of
Hurricane Katrina with a newly-formed organization called
HEART, or Hurricane Evacuees Assistance and Relocation
School, business and community leaders came together in
the office of Anna Maria Elementary School Guidance Counselor
Cindi Harrison last week to determine how they could best
help the victims.
"We have all been thinking of ways to try and help,"
Susan Timmons said. "We have such a wonderful community
to support them."
"The needs are overwhelming, but this community has
great resources," Pierrette Kelly, executive director
of the Community Center, added.
Shannon Dell told the group about Joe and Michelle White
and their 4-year-old son, Riley, and Michelles mother
and roommate who fled to Bradenton from Ocean Springs,
Miss. HEART members agreed to begin their efforts with
this family group.
Kelly said the Community Center would coordinate donations.
Dell suggested developing a database of people, their
needs and what the community can offer. The staff at Anna
Maria City Hall had offered to collect gift cards and
personal items for the families.
Harrison said housing is critical, because many of the
people have no homes or possessions, having escaped with
only the clothes on their backs. Judy Giovanelli, of Duncan
Real Estate, suggested asking the AMI Chamber of Commerce
to contact real estate agents to notify property owners
who might be willing to donate a house.
Kelly said Colleen ORourke, of the law firm of Barnes
and Walker, has volunteered to help with legal issues
that might arise regarding donating a house for someones
Jim Dunne, of the Anna Maria Island Rotary Club, said
transportation is an issue for someone relocating on the
Island and they must also fund medical care. He also said
the board has agreed to provide help and assistance to
Rotarians Patti and Win Bishop, who have offered to fund
a familys rent, utilities and other needs for a
Rosemarie Fisher, one of the Community Centers therapists,
is giving therapy to 17 displaced children through the
Red Cross. Fisher will obtain names of families from the
Red Cross and meet with them to assess their needs and
select families for adoption. Families and their needs
will be profiled in the Sun.
To donate to HEART, call the Center at 778-1908.
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