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Here’s the best way to help Miami condo collapse victims, rescuers and families

Sending money rather than clothes or household goods is the best way to support helpers on site, advocates say.
Support surges as rescue efforts continued on Friday, the day after part of a 12-story oceanfront Champlain Towers South Condo on Collins Avenue in Surfside collapsed.
Support surges as rescue efforts continued on Friday, the day after part of a 12-story oceanfront Champlain Towers South Condo on Collins Avenue in Surfside collapsed. [ AMY BETH BENNETT | South Florida ]
Published Jun. 25

The horrifying sight of the collapse of the Champlain Towers condo complex in Surfside near Miami has people searching for ways to offer comfort and aid to the rescuers, the victims, the families and the displaced. Reach for your wallet, not your closet, advocates say.

The mayor of Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine Cava, said at a press conference on Friday that local charities have seen an influx of goods and are urging people to donate money instead.

Related: How to help in the wake of Miami area condo collapse

Local community organizations in the Miami area have created a hardship fund at supportsurfside.org. Also, the Cadena Foundation, a South Florida nonprofit Jewish organization that gathers donations to be used in humanitarian crises around the world, has deployed its trained workers to help and is taking monetary donations at cadena.ngo/en.

An Orthodox Jewish man walks inside the Shul of Bal Harbour where worshippers were praying after members of the community were reported missing. The synagogue has set up a fund that will be dispersed directly to the victims and families. It has a goal of $1 million and was already more than halfway there by midday Friday.
An Orthodox Jewish man walks inside the Shul of Bal Harbour where worshippers were praying after members of the community were reported missing. The synagogue has set up a fund that will be dispersed directly to the victims and families. It has a goal of $1 million and was already more than halfway there by midday Friday. [ GERALD HERBERT | AP ]

“Our search and rescue team has arrived to offer support,” Cadena posted on its Instagram page. “This is what we train for and why our training standards are so high. There is still a lot of work to do and Cadena is ready to respond.”

American Red Cross is providing food at the family reunification center set up at the Surfside Community Center and is helping displaced residents find a place to stay. Trained Red Cross volunteers are also providing mental health support to help survivors in the aftermath of the disaster, the organization said.

Ryan Logan of the South Florida chapter of the American Red Cross suggested people resist the urge to send clothes or household goods on Friday.

“We have the supplies we need to help these people,” he said, asking people to donate money to the Support Surfside fund.

Financial contributions to recognized disaster relief organizations are the fastest, most flexible and most effective method of donating, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says in its advice about donations after a disaster. Organizations on the ground know what items and quantities are needed, often buy in bulk with discounts and, if possible, purchase through businesses local to the disaster, which supports economic recovery.

Faydah Bushnaq, of Sterling, Va., writes "Pray for their Souls" in the sand outside of a 12-story beachfront condo building that partially collapsed in the Surfside area of Miami. Bushnaq is vacationing and stopped to write in the sand.
Faydah Bushnaq, of Sterling, Va., writes "Pray for their Souls" in the sand outside of a 12-story beachfront condo building that partially collapsed in the Surfside area of Miami. Bushnaq is vacationing and stopped to write in the sand. [ LYNNE SLADKY | AP ]

Some other funds set up since the collapse on Thursday include:

  • Greater Miami Jewish Federation has opened an emergency assistance fund to provide crisis counseling and social services.
  • Shul of Bal Harbour, a synagogue, has set up a fund that will be dispersed directly to the victims and families. It has a goal of $1 million and was already more than halfway there by midday Friday.
  • United Way of Miami-Dade has set up Operation Helping Hands to support and assist affected families with both short- and long-term needs.
  • GoFundMe has also created a list of verified fund-raisers to support those affected by the Surfside condo collapse.
  • The Miami Heat, which sent players and coaches to drop off cases of water and snacks for the rescuers on Thursday, said its charitable partners at World Central Kitchen and Direct Relief were on their way to deliver hot meals and food trucks and help for the responders and the displaced victims.