Caught in the Act of Kindness - October 2022
Celebrating individuals, groups and organizations that share their time, talent and treasure to meet the needs in our community.
“Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, disease. But out of those situations always arise stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” ~ Daryn Kagan
For consideration in Caught in the Act of Kindness, email an example of how an individual, group or organization went above and beyond to help those in need to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a related high-resolution photo, please include that as well.
Albanian American Organization of Southwest Florida with Naples Historical Society President & CEO Elaine Reed, fourth from right
The Albanian American Organization of Southwest Florida and student volunteers from Barron Collier High School stepped up to offer post-Hurricane cleanup assistance to Naples Historical Society’s Historic Palm Cottage.
Sarah Baeckler bids farewell to a relocating dog.
Photo courtesy of Erik Kellar
In the days following Hurricane Ian’s landfall, Humane Society Naples worked swiftly with partners throughout Southwest Florida to transport more than 500 animals in shelters to partner organizations across the United States prior to the storm. The unprecedented animal rescue effort helped Humane Society Naples, and other animal shelters across the region, make room for the arrival of animals lost or displaced by the storm.
Photo courtesy of MuttNation Foundation
Humane Society Naples received a generous grant from Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by the country superstar and her mother, Bev Lambert. The grant will support Humane Society Naples’ ongoing Hurricane Ian relief efforts.
NCEF continues to serve as a distribution clearinghouse to coordinate needed items. It also is focusing efforts on helping children and families of displaced teachers whose homes were lost or severely damaged; assisting with needs in hard-hit pockets of East Naples, Davis Triangle, Marco Island and Everglades; working with health care services to identify areas in need of support; coordinating efforts with outside foundations to help provide temporary and, possibly, permanent facilities for damaged centers; and providing one-on-one support to NCEF beneficiaries as they work with staff and families deal with hurricane-related losses.
Naples Botanical Garden thanks the Collier Community Foundation (CCF) for its generosity and support. Through the Collier Comes Together fund, CCF funded housing for displaced staff members and affording them the ability to begin personal recovery and healing.
Since reopening its Collier Comes Together fund, CCF has granted more than $830,000 to 31 organizations, funding food, clothing, pet carriers, emergency housing, child care, tents, sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses and emergency gift cards. Thanks to the generosity of our community, the U.S., and even other nations, the Collier Comes Together Fund has received $3 million in donations to date.
Hurricane Ian Aftermath Kindness
As we experienced after Hurricane Irma, there is no shortage of love and kindness exhibited by our community after a hurricane. The following are just a few examples of the many acts of kindness that have taken place in this place we are fortunate to call home.
Long-time Naples resident Dina Sewell worked nonstop to support the residents of River Park in Naples. Sewell and Lisa Freund, a resident of Pelican Bay, activated the members of Naples Friends Council of Planned Parenthood, asking for donations of cots, pillows, blankets and fans for drying damaged items. The group responded promptly and overwhelmingly, living up to its motto of “We Care, No Matter What.”
Chalmers Pierce (on right)
Credit: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, rescuers help carry Suzanne Tomlinson, a resident who rode out the storm on Florida's Pine Island in Lee County, to a waiting boat. With the island’s only bridge heavily damaged, she could only be reached by boat or air.
Colleagues in the nonprofit community helped Children's Advocacy Center of Collier County find temporary space to provide its life-saving services.
HCA Healthcare’s frontline caregivers and support teams worked tirelessly in Florida to provide access to free fuel, laundry services and shower trucks as well as a mini-mart stocked with essentials for colleagues impacted by the storm. The organization is contributing up to $1.5 million, including $1 million to Florida Disaster Fund, $250,000 to the American Red Cross and up to $250,000 in colleague matching gifts to the Red Cross.
Nicklaus Children’s Health System – Miami donated 20 pallets of bottled water and scrubs to the NCH Healthcare System Business Center in Naples. Additional work uniforms and shoe donations were contributed by Sew Shore Uniforms and NCH staff, to be distributed to the more than 150 NCH employees who experienced significant loss from Hurricane Ian. N-95 masks were also donated to those who may be dealing with increasingly moldy conditions as they continue the cleanup process.
Nina Gray, Kari Lefort, Ashley Jones and Jefory Burke with 1,000 pounds of donated supplies.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, donors from Parkland, FL reached out to Collier Resource Center for help distributing items collected to nonprofit partners: The Salvation Army of Collier County, St. Vincent de Paul Naples, and the local chapter of the NAACP.
Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (CMON) partnered with the Emotional Wellness Team and community health partners to provide children the opportunity to speak with professionals. It also invited service animals into the museum for additional support in the wake of Hurricane Ian. CMON will continue to host licensed clinical social workers on Thursdays through October from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.
A sampling of the mental health providers also offering mental health help in the aftermath of the hurricane include Elite DNA Behavioral Health, Healthcare Network, NAMI Collier County, SalusCare and Vibe Yoga.
Artis—Naples is offering the restorative power of the arts as part of the healing process through free admission to The Baker Museum through Dec. 31 as well as free tickets for anyone impacted by Hurricane Ian, including first responders, for select performances (list available at artisnaples.org/artisuplifting). Additionally, the organization is collecting donations in The Baker Museum lobby and at the box office in front of Hayes Hall for St. Matthew’s House.
Alan Horowitz with a recipient
Less than a week after Hurricane Ian stormed through Southwest Florida, Naples Senior Center volunteers delivered hot meals to approximately 50 homebound seniors. For many of the seniors, it was their first connection with the outside community after the storm.
Collier Senior Center-Golden Gate is collaborating with the American Red Cross to provide daily hot lunches (Monday - Friday) for seniors in need as well — a need that is even more crucial now.
Crave Culinaire prepared thousands of meals daily for American Red Cross Hurricane Ian relief efforts.
Reed Design Build became a donation drop-off location for those impacted by Hurricane Ian.
Everyday Acts of Kindness
It’s heartwarming to see efforts continue, despite the disruption of the hurricane, to raise the everyday funds needed in our community as well.
NCH Healthcare System, LifeVac and Collier Community Foundation provided hundreds of LifeVac choking rescue device kits to local restaurants, schools and hotels. The LifeVac choking rescue device is an apparatus that requires no training.
Dr. Ray Montecalvo, Dr. Catherine Kowal, Kim Dillon and Billy Dillon
The Foundation of Collier County Medical Society raised nearly $28,000 in net proceeds at its 9th Annual “Docs and Duffers” charity golf tournament at Bonita Bay Club Naples. Proceeds will benefit the Foundation’s scholarships for future medical professionals and funding for local healthcare programs in need.
SWFL Children’s Charities, which organizes the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, granted the $2.1 million raised at this year’s blockbuster event to the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and Florida SouthWestern State College.
WINK-FM's “Logan & Sadie in the Morning” show raised $15,182 as a part of its Pet for a Vet fundraising project benefiting Wolfhounds Legacy, which pairs local veterans with a pet from a high-risk shelter. The funds are enough to adopt three pets and pair them with three veterans.
The John E. Ayres Memorial Hotelier Scholarship will support aspiring hoteliers at the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) School of Resort & Hospitality Management.
CAN Event Volunteers
Cancer Alliance of Naples (CAN) was awarded $175,000 dollars through The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation in support of CANcares, a comprehensive program that assists local cancer patients in need.