Having been spared the worst of Hurricane Michael, the Tampa Bay area is reaching out with donation drives.
But first, some advice.
Major relief organizations urge people to donate cash instead of items that might not be of use and can create logistical nightmares.
CharityWatch ( charitywatch.org) and Charity Navigator ( charitynavigator.org) both rate thousands of charitable organizations. The top hurricane charities compiled by Charity Navigator are Team Rubicon, Samaritan’s Purse, All Hands and Hearts Smart Response and Direct Relief.
• The city of Gulfport is collecting non-perishable items this week at Gulfport City Hall, 2401 53rd St. S, including food items, drinking water, pet food, clothing undergarments and personal hygiene products. The drive runs through Friday, when a Red Cross blood drive will take place 4-8 p.m., also at City Hall.
• Volunteers of America is collecting recovery materials at Home Depot, 2495 Gulf To Bay Blvd., Clearwater, now through Thursday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and collecting cash donations through voaflorida.org.
• Sonny’s BBQ locations will donate 10 percent of sales Wednesday to Operation BBQ Relief, a nonprofit that provides meals to displaced residents and emergency personnel. Participating locations in the area: Tampa at 15412 N Dale Mabry; Sun City Center at 724 Cypress Village Blvd.; and Wesley Chapel at 5324 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
• The Pasco County Sheriff Office and Goodyear Tire Center are collecting new and gently used toys for the children affected by Hurricane Michael. Drop off donations at Goodyear at 5038 U.S. 19 in New Port Richey weekdays 9 a.m.- 6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Donations will be collected through Oct. 27. (727) 849-7516.
• As a partner with Feeding America, Feeding Tampa Bay is collecting food for hurricane-hit communities and donations at feedingtampabay.org/disaster-relief. They are also seeking volunteers to sort and pack donated food to ready boxes for disaster relief.
• Sea Salt St. Pete is donating a portion of sales on Sunday and Monday to the Red Cross hurricane relief efforts. Make a reservation for lunch or dinner at (727) 873-7964. 183 Second Ave N, St. Petersburg.
• The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay is collecting non-perishable food items, water and recovery supplies. To donate money or volunteer, see icnarelief.org/michael. To drop off supplies contact email@example.com or call (561) 714-1596
• Volunteer Florida is taking cash donations and registering volunteers for disaster assistance at volunteerflorida.org. You can also text "DISASTER" to donate $10 or "DISASTER25" to donate $25 to 20222.
• Farm Share, a 27-year-old food and disaster relief nonprofit in Florida, has warehouses in Quincy, Jacksonville, Pompano Beach and Homestead that are working to supply food, water and supplies to the Panhandle. Donations can be made at farmshare.org and news about distribution times and locations will be posted at Facebook.com/farmshare.fl.
• OneBlood was forced to close seven of its donation centers in the Panhandle and south Georgia, and the nonprofit organization has put out a call for donations to help ensure a ready blood supply. To find a donor center or Big Red Bus near you, visit oneblood.org.
• The United Way Worldwide Crisis Response team has been activated and has launched a national United Way Hurricane Michael Recovery Fund at unitedway.org/hurricanemichael.
If you have an event or donation drive set up for Hurricane Michael relief, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it listed here.