Committed to making a difference in the lives of those devastated by this year’s hurricane season, a group of community leaders has taken the initiative and created a group called Palm Beach County Cares to collect and provide supplies and money for the rebuilding of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Co-chaired by Port of Palm Beach Commissioner Katherine Waldron and former County Commissioner Karen Marcus, the group includes business leaders, community leaders, elected officials, non-profit organizations and government entities within Palm Beach County.
“It has really been an incredible effort,” said Vice Chancellor Belinda Keiser of Keiser University. “In less than two weeks, we have been able to create a coordinated effort to give our county residents and businesses a way to show they care through donations of supplies or financial donations.”
The Port of Palm Beach has donated more than 10,000 square feet of warehouse space, United Way of Palm Beach County has signed on to provide a vehicle for financial donations and assist with donations, Gulfstream Goodwill is helping to manage the logistics of collections, and local unions are assisting in picking up donations for delivery to the Port’s warehouse.
The supplies being requested have been carefully vetted by relief organizations who have boots on the ground and the group is distributing the wish list of items out to the community.
The Palm Beach County School system, along with Keiser University, FAU, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Palm Beach State College and Palm Beach Day Academy, are working with the group to provide volunteers and collection sites. The County has committed to managing two pick-up days at four locations throughout the county. Goodwill Industries is helping to coordinate the logistics of the effort.
“We are thrilled with the outpouring of support our county has shown for our fellow Americans in their time of need and are proud to be a part of this effort,” said Juan Pagan, President of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for Palm Beach County.
Palm Beach County Cares is a bi-partisan effort and even has the support of both the Democratic and Republican County Parties.
Local business leader, Chris McDermott, co-founder of Florida Community Bank, has agreed to lead the fundraising efforts and has already begun reaching out to area businesses. He believes the group will be able to raise $5 million in the next five weeks. “Businesses are ready and willing to step up and help, and our group will allow them to donate directly to the United Way which has set up a link, as well as agreed to waive its customary 1% fee.”
For more information on how to donate and volunteer, visit www.palmbeachcountycares.com.