Hurricane Michael relief drives in Tampa Bay headed to the Panhandle.

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The Tampa Bay Rays organization collected four trucks full of donations to help those in the Panhandle affected by Hurricane Michael outside of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Monday afternoon. At left is volunteer Mark Princehorn, a security supervisor with Whalen Security, the security company for the Rays. DIRK SHADD | Times

The Tampa Bay Rays organization collected four trucks full of donations to help those in the Panhandle affected by Hurricane Michael outside of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Monday afternoon. At left is volunteer Mark Princehorn, a security supervisor with Whalen Security, the security company for the Rays.  The Rays left with these trucks this morning around 5:00 am, headed to the panhandle with donations collected from fans.
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.

DONATION DRIVES

• 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.

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, Hurricane Michael Relief Day is set to take over a trio of Tampa Bay locations for Sonny’s BBQ.

Diners are encouraged to patronize the Florida-based barbecue chain’s participating outposts in TampaSun City Center and Wesley Chapel on from open to close, because they’ve committed to giving 10 percent of their sales to Operation BBQ Relief. Each donation will support those impacted by the devastating storm in the Panhandle and beyond.

Sonny's BBQ Tampa Bay Pulled Pork

Operation BBQ Relief provides meals to displaced residents and emergency personnel during times of disaster. In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, the nonprofit and Sonny’s have joined forces with local government agencies and the Salvation Army to help serve up some relief.

 

• 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 tahsin.nabid@icnarelief.org 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

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning announced  that they will be teaming up with PODS® Moving & Storage and Feeding Tampa Bay to host donation drives that will benefit those impacted by Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle. A PODS Container will be on Ford Thunder Alley prior to the Bolts games on  Thursday for fans to donate items. 

Fans are encouraged to donate shelf-stable items that do not require power to eat or prepare including granola bars, peanut butter, canned tuna, soup, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products. Donated items will be shipped to the Florida Panhandle at the end of the week courtesy of Feeding Tampa Bay.

 If you know of any relief drives going on in Florida and would like to share theses efforts and locations for collection or distribution, please relay that information in the comment section below.

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