Social service agencies around Manatee County are working even harder than usual to help out people affected by Hurricane Irma, providing everything from food to legal assistance and help with child care. Here are some ways you can help, or get help.
▪ A lot of food that was in refrigerators and freezers in the homes of people who have lost their electricity has gone bad now, and a lot of people don’t have the money to replenish their supplies. So Manatee County is in even greater need of food donations than usual.
The Food Bank of Manatee is working with Feeding Florida and Feeding Tampa Bay to help get food to people affected by Irma.
There are plenty of locations around Manatee County where you can drop of “shelf-stable” food so the organizations can get it into the hands (and mouths) of people who are in need:
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▪ Meals on Wheels PLUS, 811 23rd Ave. E., Bradenton.
▪ All Manatee County Goodwill locations.
▪ Manatee Community Foundation, 2820 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton
▪ LWRBA, 8430 Enterprise Circle #140, Lakewood Ranch
▪ Manatee Chamber of Commerce, 222 10th St. W, Bradenton, and 4215 Concept Court, Lakewood Ranch
▪ Synovus Bank, 2520 Manatee Ave. W. Bradenton, and 6705 S.R. 70 E., Bradenton
▪ Morgan Stanley, 1401 Manatee Ave. W., Suite 1110, Bradenton
▪ Orange Theory Fitness, 5275 University Pkwy No. 116, Bradenton
▪ Outback Steakhouse, 4402 Cortez Road W., Bradenton
The food is distributed through dozens of food pantries around the county. You can find a list of the pantries at foodbankofmanatee.org.
▪ Because schools are closed from the hurricane, the Lakewood Ranch Branch YMCA, 5100 Lakewood Ranch Blvd, is offering a School Day Off camp for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. through Friday. It’s $60 per child. You can register at manateeymca.org/programs.
▪ Centerstone, a behavioral health hospital that specializes in mental health and addiction services, has re-opened its outpatient facilities after closing for the hurricane. Call 941-782-4150 to reschedule a missed appointment. People in crisis can contact our Hospital Access Center at 941-782-4600 or visit our hospital campus at 2020 26th Ave. E., Bradenton.
▪ The Florida Bar Association has established a legal aid hotline that is now available for Hurricane Irma survivors in Florida who cannot pay for an attorney. The hotline operates through a partnership between The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It can help in such matters as securing FEMA benefits, making insurance claims, dealing with a home repair contractor, replacing wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the hurricane, consumer protection matters, and mortgage-foreclosure problems or landlord/tenant issues. Call 866-550-2929 for more information.
▪ Manatee County Animal Services will extend the hold period from three to five days to now 30 days for stray pets found during the storm. This applies only to pets with intake dates between Sept. 10-16.
In addition, MCAS is waiving all redemption fees for lost pets and adoption fees until further notice. Proof of ownership is required. If you’ve lost a pet, visit the Palmetto facility at 305 25th St. W., or view intake pictures of found pets at mymanatee.org/pets and click on the “Lost & Found Pets” button. Additionally, residents with lost pets are encouraged to report their lost pet to MCAS at 941-742-5933.
MCAS is in need of donations of bleach, laundry detergent, dish soap and canned cat food.