Across Tampa Bay, charities and residents have started mobilizing to provide aid to the Bahamas after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian.
But disasters also bring out scammers. The Pinellas County Consumer Protection Division says residents should be wary of anyone soliciting for donations on behalf of Dorian’s victims.
But there’s a way to check to make sure a charitable effort is legitimate. Any charity soliciting for contributions within the state — not including educational, governmental and religious organizations — must register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and file their financial documents with the state.
To make sure you’re donating to a legitimate hurricane relief effort, check Check-A-Charity, an online resource that stores all the information those organizations are supposed to report to the state.
Here’s a list of local charities providing aid:
AW Mercantile, located within Tampa’s Armature Works at 1910 N Ola Ave., will act as a collection center for baby supply items daily today through Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. In addition, Tampa-based restaurant company BE-1 Concepts which includes 14 Florida establishments including those at Armature Works, will take drop-off items at their other Tampa Bay restaurants, Boca Kitchen Bar and Market (901 W Platt St., Tampa and 11206 Sullivan St., Riverview); Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club ( 2109 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa); or Sea Critters Café (2007 Pass-a-Grille Way, St. Pete Beach). “Our family often visits to the Bahamas with Green Turtle and Hope Town being some of our favorite places to go and have met some of the nicest people there,” said Chas Bruck, co-owner for The Heights District, Armature Works and BE1 Concepts. “We feel for all those affected by Hurricane Dorian and wanted to provide immediate help to those families in need, most specifically young children.”All those donating will be given a voucher good for 10 percent off at all Armature Works stores and family of restaurants. All donations will be delivered to SOL Relief. For more information about SOL Relief visit solrelief.org. Chas and Taryn Bruck, through the Bruck Family Foundation, will match any donated items received during this drive.
Bahamas Red Cross Society. The Bahamas branch of the International Red Cross is requesting help with its Dorian relief program. Specifically, it’s looking for donations of nonperishable goods, water, toiletries, baby products, radios, batteries, candles, bedding, generators, and building supplies. You can also make a donation online at bahamasredcross.org.
Clean Juice at the Shops of Wiregrass Mall in Wesley Chapel Florida is taking any unused hurricane supplies to be donated to those in need right now. 28216 Paseo Drive, Suite 170 Wesley Chapel.
Clearwater Aquarium is donating $1 from each admission ticket sold through Sept. 15 to the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. Also, Florida residents also receive special admission pricing now through Sept. 30 of $10 off. It will be $14.95, $9.95 for age 3-12.
Epic Services, Current Chiropractic, and Danks Family Chiropractic are taking donations to assist with relief efforts in the Bahamas. Suggested items include first aid items, trash bags, toiletries, diapers, blankets, solar-powered lights, generators, camp stoves, air mattresses and cleaning supplies. Items may be dropped off during normal business hours at: Epic Services, 4002 W State St., Tampa; Current Chiropractic, 3432 Lithia Pinecrest Road, Valrico; Danks Family Chiropractic, 11305 Countryway Blvd., Tampa.
Ferg’s Sports Bar will give free admission to the Howard Jones concert after Sunday’s Tampa Bay Rays game to anyone who brings two canned food goods or bottled water to be donated to Hurricane Dorian efforts. Free entry is up to venue capacity. 5:30 p.m. Sunday. 1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.
Florida-Bahamas Synod: Send financial donations to the Florida-Bahamas Synod, 3838 W Cypress St., Tampa, FL 33607. Call (813) 876-7660.
Heart to Heart International, the global humanitarian effort that specializes in programs aimed at health and wellness, has deployed medical response teams including the Mobile Medical Unit stocked with medicines, tetanus vaccines, medical supplies and hygiene kits. The organization is looking to send more medical aid to the Bahamas once the storm clears, in addition to deploying units in areas of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, where the storm is predicted to head next. The organization is requesting donations, which can be made here at hearttoheart.org.
International Medical Corps, the global humanitarian nonprofit, is sending medical teams to the Bahamas at the request of the Florida Department of Health. They are seeking donations that will be used to help provide affected Bahamians with the medical care they need. Donations can be made online here at internationalmedicalcorps.org
J.L. Marine Systems, Inc., maker of Power-Pole Shallow Water Anchors, will be collecting supplies for those impacted by Hurricane Dorian, particularly batteries, generators, and cell phone and USB charging devices. Donations can be made starting Wednesday from 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. until Friday. in the Warranty and Parts Department entrance of Power-Pole headquarters, at 9010 Palm River Road in Tampa. They will also accept any new items, including tools and materials essential to the recovery efforts. All items collected will be transported to affected areas or disseminated to organizations for community outreach and recovery. In addition to batteries and charging devices, suggested items include gift cards, sanitation items, work gloves and light construction materials.
Mermosa Winery and Boutique is giving a free bottle of Mersecco to donors who bring diapers and a package of wipes today through Sunday. They will be delivered to Babycycle for the Bahamas. The store is located at 400 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg.
Mother’s restaurant in Westchase is collecting hurricane relief supplies such as hygiene items, nonperishable food and water, batteries, tarps, tools and cleaning supplies. Drop them off at 12227 W Linebaugh Ave. Tampa.
Oldmar Cares has set up a relief fund at flipcause.com and is taking donations of in-demand items at its office today through Saturday. Items in need include construction tools, generators, flashlights, batteries, blankets, hygiene products and canned food. Drop-off times are 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m.-noon Friday and Saturday at 149 State Road 580 W, Oldsmar.
OneBlood had to close down its east coast operations because of Hurricane Dorian and is now hoping to collect extra pints to have blood readily available. A blood drive is scheduled for Friday Sept. 13 at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point between noon and 5 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome. To make an appointment, please visit oneblood.org/donate-now and use sponsor code #12280. The blood mobile will be parked in the employee parking lot adjacent to the cafeteria screen porch. All donors will receive a cafeteria meal ticket, a free Cancer Awareness T-shirt and keychain and a wellness checkup, including blood pressure, temperature, iron count and cholesterol screening. 14000 Fivay Road, Hudson.
Sky Zone trampoline parks will be collecting relief supplies and donations for the Bahamian people. The trampoline park in Tampa will give a free 120-Minute Jump Pass to everyone who donates an item on Wednesday. And donations will be accepted through the remainder of the week at Sky Zone Tampa, which is located at 10137 E Adamo Drive, Tampa. Needed supplies include water, canned food, baby supplies, medical supplies, cleaning wipes and trash bags, hygiene products, tents, sleeping bags, towels, flashlights and batteries. “I can only imagine the fear the Bahamian people must feel,” owner Jay Highley said. “The aftermath of Hurricane Dorian is expected to be devastating to the islands and we will do everything we can to help them in any way possible.”
Sol Relief, the local aviation community, will fly necessary supplies to Bahamian victims. Supplies can be delivered to St. Pete Air at 107 Eighth Ave. SE, St. Petersburg from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. St. Petersburg businessman John Auer has offered to match donations from individuals dollar for dollar up to $500,000 for the next two weeks. Click here to donate at solrelief.org. Or donate via PayPal at paypal.me/solrelief.
Team Bahamas Hurricane Dorian Relief-St. Pete is collecting essential supplies, 8 a.m-6 p.m., through Thursday, at Bethel Community Baptist Church, 2901 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Contact Cleopatra Sykes or Kenny Brown, (727) 344-9654 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg is asking for donations for its Disaster Relief Fund for those impacted by Dorian. Mail to Disaster Relief Fund, Diocese of St. Petersburg, P.O. Box 40200, St. Petersburg, FL 33743-0200.
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