Two weeks after New Jerseyans watched hurricane damage in Texas from afar, this weekend it happened again – in Florida, as Hurricane Irma roared through the state.
“In New Jersey, where our communities — and schools — suffered heavy damage during Hurricane Sandy five years ago, our hearts went out to help Texans after Hurricane Harvey. This week, we turn our eyes to Florida,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director.
Nearly every part of Florida suffered damage from heavy rains, hurricane winds and storm surge. In the Florida Keys, more than 25 percent of homes were destroyed. In Jacksonville, severe flooding swamped the city. In Naples, lashing rain and record winds battered homes and structures. Throughout the state, more than 6 million customers lost electricity, according to published reports. And across Florida , schools were closed, and many served as shelters for evacuees.
And while assessment of the damage continues, after the storm continued on into neighboring states, at least 20 deaths have been attributed to Irma in the United States.
While the full scope of damage in Florida is still being assessed, the New Jersey School Boards Association is monitoring the situation, including watching the lead of the Florida School Boards Association.
Although school districts cannot make contributions using public funds, individual board members, administrators and school staff may contribute as private citizens. In addition, organizations such as parents’ groups and student clubs may participate in fundraising.
The Florida Disaster Fund, created by Florida’s governor, is one resource for those who may wish to assist Florida families and school communities. Other donor sites that assist schools, such as DonorsChoose, offer ways to help victims of both hurricanes Irma and Harvey.
A list of agencies such as the American Red Cross and Americares, and information on choosing a place to donate, has been also compiled by ABC News.