Rotary collecting for Irma victims

The Rotary Club of Key Largo board of directors voted unanimously to help support displaced families of the Key Largo School district severely impacted by Irma during their Sept 28 meeting.

Monroe County schools in the Upper Keys re-opened on Mon. Sept 28. Initial student attendance reports are positive, but concerns remain high for vulnerable communities and families that were entirely displaced or significantly impacted by Hurricane Irma.

"We have been trying to help our families in need. We estimate that up to 20 percent of our students were severely affected and/or displaced. We have also received new students from other places that lost their homes to Irma,” Key Largo School Principal Laura Lietaert said in a statement. “We are providing food and clothing to address immediate needs. Tarps, cleaning supplies, toiletries and diapers were also in high demand. Monetary donations allow us to provide gift cards for families that can get to the store themselves. For those without transportation, we can provide the actual supplies needed.”

The Rotary Club of Key Largo has been receiving communications from other Rotary Clubs nationwide with offers to help.

“Rotary is also a humanitarian organization, and we are charged with the coming to the aid of our community when faced with such a crisis,” Cris Beaty, past president of the Rotary Club of Key Largo, said during the recent board meeting.

The Rotary Club of Key Largo has two fundraising events each year that generate funds for the Take Stock in Children Program and local vocational scholarships. The event was scheduled for Sept. 22-24, and due to Hurricane Irma, was canceled. The storm impacted the families of children who financially qualify for the Take Stock Program and other public assistance programs.

An initial monetary donation was made to Key Largo School to assist with immediate needs such as the gift cards and essential daily supplies. Rotary will continue to work with the district schools to assist the local families as needed.

The Rotary Club of Key Largo is accepting donations online to help in the rebuilding process of our community. Funds will be directed to humanitarian needs as identified by schools in the district and vital student educational scholarships. Please visit