We have set a $25,000 goal to purchase emergency relief items to distribute to families in need.

We are doing everything in our power to put our campus and staff to work to help relieve our community’s needs in this difficult time. In addition to emergency needs, regular resources to the area food banks are very limited, resulting in the unexpected need for us to purchase food, water and supplies to distribute to our families for post-Irma relief.

We are asking you, our fellow neighbors, to join our efforts and help our families in need of assistance.

The Situation in Golden Gate:

The economic stress of hurricane Irma on the families we serve may not be as visible as downed trees and dark streets, but it is the biggest challenge our families are currently facing and will likely face for some months. Many businesses were closed for an extended time, preventing parents who rely on hourly-wage jobs from providing for their families. Further, some businesses have been destroyed and many are now focused on repairs, which will impact incomes in the coming months. With most families living paycheck to paycheck, this economic stress will cause many to become food insecure, and will deepen the need of those who were already having difficulty keeping their families fed. We know that the economic impact of the hurricane will be felt by our families for many months to come, and we are now well situated to help families cope with it.

Collier County Public Schools resumed on Monday, September 25, and Grace Place’s academic programs, which follow the public school calendar, have resumed as well. We are pleased to share that most of our families have happily returned, and are understandably anxious to regain some normalcy in their lives, despite the ongoing challenges of the storm’s aftermath.

Providing food and water was our top priority during our initial relief efforts, and we distributed more than 20 pallets of food and 1500 gallons of water to over 750 families since reopening our Friday Food Pantry on September 15, just four days after Irma passed through Florida. Thanks to your tremendous response, families are now welcome to come as frequently as they need to our Friday Food Pantry.

We are now shifting gears into long-term relief planning. Grace Place is widely regarded as the voice of Golden Gate, and our leadership has met with many other esteemed Collier County nonprofits to discuss key issues and strategic solutions going forward. We are preparing to formally assess our families’ long term needs, and hope to have our assessments completed next week, sitting down with each family to determine exactly how they have been impacted by the storm. We believe this step is critical, not only to ensure we address the real needs of families but to ensure we are good stewards of your contributions of time, talent, and treasure.

As an institution our community trusts, we are doing everything in our power to put our campus and staff to work to help relieve our community’s needs in this difficult time. While we will wait for the results of the assessment before establishing a long-term relief plan, we have already worked with several partners to help meet our families’ most pressing needs. We hosted Fifth Third Bank’s e-bus on campus, providing families with internet access and assistance in applying for FEMA aid. The American Red Cross came to campus and provided warm meals. There have been countless groups, churches, and caring individuals on campus providing all sorts of help.

We will continue to work diligently to support the health and well-being of the families of Golden Gate during their recovery from hurricane Irma, while continuing to meet their educational needs. As ever, we cannot do so without your support.

 Together we will rebuild a better, stronger community.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Chrissie Guzman, Volunteer Experience Manager at 239.234.2467 or chrissie@graceplacenaples.org.

If you are interested in making a delivery of relief items, please contact Dave Tobiasz, CFO/COO at 239.234.2407or dave@graceplacenaples.org.