Monday, July 07, 2008

Soles4Souls Participates in Hurricane Starter Kits

Hundreds of people in Miami-Dade County were waiting in long lines last Friday to receive a free hurricane ''starter kit'' in anticipation for the hurricane season. More than 100 volunteers handed out over 1,500 kits to South Miami-Dade's poor.

''The reality is that there is unbelievable need in our own backyards,'' said Wayne Elsey of Soles4Souls, one of the event donors. ''The purchase of a pair of shoes might mean the difference between buying a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas. We really need to open our eyes,'' he said.

Despite rising costs, donors such as Navarro Discount Pharmacies, Publix Supermarkets, Sedano's Supermarkets, Soles4Souls, State Farm Insurance and Winn-Dixie Marketplace all donated time and supplies to the effort.

According to Patricia Robbins, founder and chairman of Farm Share, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez contacted them about creating the hurricane kits for residents in the area living at the poverty level.

Each kit contained several pairs of flip flops, first aid items, hygiene items, canned foods, a flashlight with spare batteries, ponchos, plastic forks, knives and spoons, as well as four MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat. In addition, each family also received bread and a gallon of water and orange juice.

''We had originally wanted to do 72-hour kits, but the economy has put a scare on many donors, so we had to scramble to find enough to create the basic kit,'' said Gail Robbins, chief operating officer of Farm Share.

Those receiving the kits, however, were grateful for the aid.

'This shows our community leaders' concern for the population in need, it's good to see everyone helping and donating,'' Farm Share recipient Maribel YƱigo said.

Farm Share regularly distributes food to more than 703,000 families in Florida.

The organization sorts and repackages surplus produce and other foods and gives them to agencies and families in poor, rural areas.

Local JobCorps students, police youth groups and Junior ROTC members were on hand to help hand out the kits and direct the traffic of waiting families.

''Coming here today helped me focus on helping people who really need it ,'' said Destiny Rose Ortiz, a JobCorps student volunteer.

No comments: