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Helping Houston weather the storm

September 1, 2017
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The most recent updates from the Associated Press are grim: The death toll is climbing as public safety officials continue to find the bodies of those lost in the flooding wrought by Hurricane Harvey.

Thousands are homeless. The tally of homes destroyed has topped 7,000 with the number of residences damaged estimated at 37,000-plus. Many are still flooded.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the state could need more than $125 billion in federal aid. The destruction caused by wind, rain, street flooding and flash floods is of unprecedented magnitude, officials say, and full recovery is years in the future.

As Congress readies for emergency appropriations, Americans across the country are doing what Americans do: rallying to provide aid, relief and volunteers.

On the state level, Gov. Rick Scott's office reports that nearly 270 volunteers have deployed to Texas and Louisiana with Volunteer Florida coordinating the activities of 10 disaster relief organizations.

Meanwhile, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers are assisting with disaster response efforts in the Houston area, the governor's office reports. Those officers have rescued more than 200 people since arriving in the area equipped with "more than 40 boats, 17 high water vehicles, two Mobile Command Centers, and eight shallow draft vessels."

On the local level, organizations, businesses and individuals have joined relief efforts large and small across the U.S.

Among them:

* The Captains for Clean Water will collect donations at The Flats Tournament this Friday and Saturday. Captains Chris Wittman and Daniel Andrews will then make a supply run to Texas to deliver the items immediately after the tournament and stay to help with relief efforts for a few days.

Those who wish to help are asked to bring supplies to The Flats Invitational Redfish Challenge, Fathoms Restaurant and Bar, 5785 Cape Harbour Drive #106, Cape Coral.

Organizers say the most needed items include first-aid kits, toothbrushes and toothpaste, epi pens, resealable bags, baby food and formula, diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, dry dog and cat food, dog leashes, pet cages, tarps, bug spray, ponchos, fuel canisters, batteries and phone chargers.

Those unable to attend the Flats Tournament this weekend can still help by dropping off items to the following locations today: The Garvin Law Firm, 4280 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers; The Boat Place, 16394 San Carlos Blvd., Fort Myers; or Bailey's General Store, 2477 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

* The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has set up on-line contribution links for both Hurricane Harvey victims and Southwest Florida flood relief. Visit

* The Animal Refuge League - North Fort Myers based ARC - will send two volunteers to rescue dogs and cats that are homeless due to Hurricane Harvey. ARC relies on donations to support its rescue efforts. Visit .

* The Salty Crab on Fort Myers Beach will hold a Lonestar Relief effort from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday. The event will be hosted by the Pit Bull Crew, a dog rescue group. They are hoping to collect non-perishable items, including new and used clothing, blankets, pillows and other essentials as well as pet food, leashes, collars and the like. The Salty Crab is at 1154 Estero Blvd.

We thank these groups and the innumerable others, as well as the various volunteers, both local and not, for their efforts.

We also urge those who donate to be cautious with their cash and donate only to known or vetted groups.

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Adam H. Putnam encourages Floridians to visit to research charitable organizations before donating money to help those in need.

Good advice as America rallies to help Houston weather the aftermath of this devastating storm.

- Breeze editorial

Update: an addition to the list:

Winn-Dixie, together with the parent company's Southeastern Grocers Foundation, will accept donations in support of the American Red Cross' Disaster Relief fund to assist those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Now through Sept. 6, customers can make donations at all Winn-Dixie stores during checkout, as well as online at the grocer's website, . Every cent raised will go to the American Red Cross' Disaster Relief to provide food, shelter, counseling and other assistance to tens of thousands of people after the unprecedented flooding that inundated neighborhoods. Customers can also donate at the American Red Cross website:



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