5 Ways to Support Survivors of the Surfside Condo Collapse

Do your part to keep #SurfsideStrong.

GEM Headquarters
Photo courtesy of GEM Headquarters

Though we Miamians get a bad rap for being a little on the self-absorbed side, if the tragic events of last week have taught us anything it’s that when things around here get tough, we do everything we can to show up for each other. The Champlain Towers collapse in Surfside has brought this city together more than any other disaster since Hurricane Andrew, and though what happened last week was a horrible, unfathomable loss, the outpouring of support across South Florida has been incredibly inspiring.

While many residents’ knee jerk response has been, “How can I help?,” supporting the survivors of the collapse isn’t as straightforward as one might think. Some well-meaning donations have piled up in places where they can’t reach the people who need it most, and navigating exactly how and where to throw your money, time, or badly-needed food and other supplies isn’t always easy. 

Here’s a handy list of trusted places and causes to support in any way you can. It’s by no means all-encompassing, but will ensure your best intentions are put to good use. And hopefully help the community’s long, difficult road to healing.

Probably the easiest and most direct way to help the Surfside survivors is by donating money to this collaborative effort between The Miami Foundation, the Coral Gables and Key Biscayne Community Foundations, the Miami Heat, and the Knight Foundation. The hardship foundation was established to fund critical and immediate relief efforts in the area.

Photo courtesy of GEM Headquarters

Michael Capponi’s Global Empowerment Mission, which helps worldwide with everything from the freezes in Texas to flooding in Guyana, is hard at work distributing GEM Bstrong Visa cards, family necessities kits, and other crucial items to survivors. GEM is inviting everyone to help sort supplies at their Doral Warehouse at 1810 NW 94th Street on Fridays from noon to 2 pm. You can also donate money to its Surfside program or to the residents directly.

Feeding South Florida
Feeding South Florida

South Florida’s largest food bank is working with the Town of Surfside and the Red Cross to coordinate delivery of crucial items to survivors of the collapse. Specifically, Feeding South Florida needs unopened, unused hygiene items; cleaning supplies; diapers; new, unused bedding and towels; non-perishable foodstuffs; and bottled water. Drop-off hours run Monday through Friday from 9 to 11:30 am and again from 1:30 to 4 pm at Feeding South Florida’s warehouse located at 2501 SW 32 Terrace, Pembroke Park.  Please note they can’t accept used clothes, towels, or bedding, and all hygiene items must arrive unopened.

Miami-based journalists Peter and Meggan Taylor have started a GoFundMe and housing campaign to help former residents left stranded after the towers’ collapse. This is a call to not only the South Florida community, but also to the real estate community as a whole as well as developers and hotel owners. Thanks to their efforts and the example of people like Andreas King-Geovanis, Peter and Meggen's have been inundated with calls and messages from survivors, victims' family members, rabbis, and friends of folks seeking housing. Pledge some cash online and spread the word by posting the GoFundMe all over social media for maximum impact.

Pura Vida Miami
Pura Vida Miami

Help Miami restaurants feed first responders

Omer Horev and his wife Jennifer Horev, founders of South Florida’s go-to wellness eatery Pura Vida, have linked up with Surfside first responders to provide free lunches for rescue workers and other hungry helpers and they’ll continue to do so throughout the coming weeks. Pura Vida is also adding a new menu category on their Pura Vida delivery/pick-up app, allowing patrons to easily donate increments of $10, $25, or $50 to the Surfside Relief Fund upon checkout.

Matt Meltzer is a contributor for Thrillist.