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Gulf & Main Magazine

Volunteers Still Needed in SWFL for Irma Relief Efforts

Oct 10, 2017 12:06PM ● By Kevin

"Prez Cliff today getting down & dirty helping clean a veteran's yard w/#Irma debris. More volunteers needed! #LiveUnitedFl #SWFL" - Tweeted by @UnitedWayLHG on Oct. 8, 2017. Photo courtesy of United Way Lee.

There are still plenty of ways to help out with relief efforts for Hurricane Irma. From debris cleanup to financial assistance and everything in between, if you have the time and/or resources, we want to make volunteering easier for you. So, we've compiled a list of 10 organizations and causes for which you can volunteer your time and efforts.

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties

Coastal Cleanup Rescheduled

As of Oct. 8, 2017, and as shown in the picture above, the local United Way branch is still actively working to clean up debris in its coverage area. There are a plethora of regularly scheduled opportunities, but one in particular that relates to the storm is the Coastal Cleanup. Originally set up for September, there were delays due to the storm, and the coast will need attention now more than before.

The event is now on Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon at various locations. According to the website: "Lee County residents are invited to help clean up the marine debris that is much more than an eyesore. It represents a public health threat as well as a threat to our ocean’s ecosystem. Keep Lee County Beautiful asks you to join us and participate in this worthy cause to clean and protect our waterways and beaches. Last year we had over 2,100 volunteers who helped us gather over 4 tons of debris. Every person who volunteers does make a difference. Let’s Keep Lee County Beautiful!"

To register, click here.

Girl Scouts of Gulf Coast Florida's Make a Difference Day

According to the United Way's website: "Help blaze the trail for Girl Scouts at Camp Caloosa in North Fort Myers! Volunteers are needed to clear storm debris left behind by Hurricane Irma in some of our scenic hiking trails. Please bring insect repellant, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, boots/closed-toed shoes, gloves, and gardening gear (loppers, pruners, even a chainsaw if you have one!). We will provide a light breakfast, lunch, and plenty of water. Due to the nature of the work, volunteers must be high-school age and older."

The event takes place on Oct. 28, from 9 a.m. until noon. Contact Madeline for more information and/or to sign up.

American Red Cross-Florida's Southern Gulf Chapter's Disaster Action Team

This is an ongoing volunteer project, which gives volunteers the opportunity to respond by distributing food, drinks, snacks, etc., to those affected by and responding to disaster events like Hurricane Irma. The team also provides sheltering, mass care, logistics (bulk distribution, warehousing, transportation, procurement, supply, and in-kind donations), client casework/recovering planning and assistance, and physical/mental health services.

There are many other areas for volunteers to work in, as well, which inclue: financial and statistical information, information dissemination, IT, safe and well family linking, fundraising/special event planning, government relations/community relations, and service to the Armed Forces. To learn more contact John Cain 239-278-3401 or email 
[email protected]

Volunteer Florida


According to Volunteer Florida's website, "The Florida Disaster Fund is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster. In partnership with the public sector, private sector and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities.

"[One hundred percent] of funds raised will go toward disaster-related response and recovery; there are no overhead costs. Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund are made to the Volunteer Florida Foundation, 501(c)(3) charitable organization and are tax deductible.

"The Florida Disaster Fund distributes funds to service organizations that will serve individuals within their communities with disaster response and recovery. Individuals seeking financial assistance should register with FEMA at 800-621-FEMA or"

To donate by credit card, click here.

You can also text to give via one-time donation of $10 by texting the word SUNSHINE to 20222. By doing this, $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. You must be 18 years of age or older.

To donate by check, make the check out to "Volunteer Florida Foundation" and mail to:

Volunteer Florida Foundation
Attn: Florida Disaster Fund
3800 Esplanade Way - Suite 180
Tallahassee, FL 32311

Please include "Florida Disaster Fund" in the memo line.

Midwest Food Bank Fort Myers

According to its website: "volunteers are invaluable to the mission of Midwest Food Bank. Examples of  volunteer opportunities include and are not limited too: preparing disaster relief boxes, repackaging bulk foods into manageable quantities for distribution and supporting local distribution to pantries. We also have opportunities for drivers with a CDL license."

Midwest Food Bank's mission is to alleviate hunger and poverty by gathering and distributing food donations to not-for-profits and disaster sites without cost to the recipients.

Signup to volunteer here.

Rotary Clubs

Bonita Springs

There are still many of tasks, as of Oct. 10, 2017, for those not able to do themselves, such as mucking and gutting homes in the area. Even helping to wash clothes is an easy win. Some people also bring lunches for workers. Specific efforts are being directed toward Imperial and Dean Streets.

For more information or to volunteer, click here.

Rocktoberfest Round the World

Help post flyers and spread the word in and around your community for the upcoming Rocktoberfest fundraiser, where proceeds benefit Hurricane Irma relief efforts. Specifically, funds will help Bonita Springs Assistant Office, Everglades Wonder Gardens, and Bonita Beach Sunset Rotary & Rotary District 6960 IRMA relief.

This is a joint effort by the Bonita Springs and Estero Rotay clubs. The event takes place on Oct. 14, from 4 to 9 p.m., at Artichoke & Company - Bonita Springs.

To download and print the flyer, click here.

Community Cooperative

This organization specifically runs Meals on Wheels, The Soup Kitchen, Mobile Food Pantries and Social Services to assist with housing, jobs and other needs.'

According to its website: "Volunteers, staff, and board members work together to improve the quality of life in southwest Florida and provide empowering, innovative programs resulting in sustainable positive change. Volunteers are people willing to give their resources, their knowledge and their energy to Community Cooperative to ensure better opportunities for our community today and for future generations. Click the button below to learn more about volunteering, or call our Volunteer Coordinator at 239-332-0441 for more information."

Samaritan's Purse International Relief

According to its website: "Samaritan’s Purse mobilizes staff and equipment and enlists thousands of volunteers to provide emergency aid to victims of tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters in the United States. We often stay behind after our initial response to rebuild or restore houses for families in need."

The current response teams are working in Naples and Key West. There will be opportunities for both volunteers who need overnight accommodations and those who want to serve for the day at the Naples site. The length of stay is a minimum of three days for overnight volunteers.
Responsibilities include: tearing out damaged drywall, removing flooring, tarping roofs, and clearing debris.

Click here for more details. Click here to volunteer.

Shy Wolf Sanctuary

This nonprofit education and experience center is in need of donations, as well as help clearing debris, cutting trees, fixing fences and more.

Shy Wolf's mission is to reconnect people and animals through education. According to its website: "Shy Wolf Sanctuary, Education and Experience Center provides sanctuary and rehabilitation to wild and captive bred wolves, and other exotic animals. We work year round to educate the public about the importance of protecting these animals.

"Shy Wolf Sanctuary provides a permanent home to over 60 captive-bred or rescued exotic animals every year. The wolves and other resident animals are housed on a 2.5 acre property in Naples, FL and are supported by over 30 active volunteers. Wolfdogs are generally considered unadoptable by domestic animal services and have nowhere else to go. Shy Wolf Sanctuary is literally their last hope.

"Every year Shy Wolf rescues between 20 – 100 wolfdogs in Florida and across the country that never come to reside at the sanctuary. Shy Wolf places these animals in foster homes for eventual adoption and works with a network of trusted organizations and rescuers."

To donate or volunteer, click here.

Are you a part of a local organization that is helping with Hurricane Irma relief efforts? Click here to contact us and let us know. We'll add it to the list!