Thanks to the generous donations of Gulfstream Boat Club and Boatsetter members, last week our team was able to deliver quite literally a boatload of supplies to areas of the Florida Keys destroyed by Hurricane Irma.
We took off early last Thursday from Gulfstream Boat Club in Delray in a 37-foot Boston Whaler full of food, water, diapers, school supplies, clothing, and more. Our plan was to get as far into the Florida Keys by Boat as we could with the fuel we had.
I spoke with Justin Stuckart, an Army vet who is working with Congressman Brian Mast to coordinate relief efforts throughout the Keys. Justin and I were in touch throughout the week. He also connected me with Tracy Garcia, a resident of Marathon, one of the hardest-hit places. She’s working every day to help get families back on their feet, and specifically to get the schools back open. Part of that mission includes getting students and their families much-needed supplies.
On our way south we started calling marinas asking if we could take on some fuel, but most were closed or out of fuel. However, Valerie at Shelter Bay Marine in Marathon welcomed us. She invited us to coordinate with Tracy there. Shelter Bay was able to get us 100 gallons of fuel (which we needed to get home), and their team helped us unload. It was a wonderful moment of community.
There is still a grave lack of fuel and power in Marathon, Big Pine, and Cudjoe Key. The residents we encountered were very thankful, but obviously tired, sad, and hurting. Seeing us show up with thousands of pounds of food, school supplies, clothing, and more brought them a good measure of joy and relief.
With four major natural disasters in and near the U.S. during the last few months, we urge local businesses to lend a hand to their communities, and others in need. Thank you again for your support and donations. —Alex Warner, Owner, Gulfstream Boat Club