Local leaders gather at GEM in Doral to provide update on relief efforts to help Hurricane Beryl victims – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

    Local leaders gather at GEM in Doral to provide update on relief efforts to help Hurricane Beryl victims – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

    DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) – As Hurricane Beryl heads towards Mexico after leaving a path of destruction in the Caribbean, South Florida knows all too well what storm survivors have gone through and are now lending support.

    At the Global Empowerment Mission in Doral on Thursday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and consulate officials were in attendance.

    “The devastation that is left behind is heartbreaking and we don’t even know the extent,” Cava said. “The Board of County Commissioners is already setting up a way for nearly 30,000 employees to donate their leave time, which translates into cash, so it’s very valuable donation and we’ve done this to boost the relief efforts in the past.”

    GEM, the non-profit organization, is at the forefront of the relief effort by sending food and aid to the communities in need after the deadly storm.

    Michael Capponi, founder and CEO of GEM, will be in Jamaica on Friday to see the devastation firsthand, while some pallets of aid have already arrived.

    “So we will be airlifting supplies to Jamaica, Grenada and Union Island,” Capponi said.

    The record setting monster storm sent shock waves through communities and uprooted the livelihood for the majority of the island.

    This has hit close to home for some in South Florida like Oliver Mair with Jamaica’s consulate.

    “My wife Tania and my daughter Serena, we have been speaking right throughout, up to a point, I mean, they only have 3% on the phone but they are fine,” Mair said.

    Some locals like Sonia Harris have stepped up to volunteer.

    “I’m from Barbados. I’m here volunteering because they’re sending aid to Barbados to help the people,” she said. “My mom just turned 89 years old, and she lost her boat after 57 years.”

    Volunteers are hard at work packing boxes with tooth brushes, socks and several other essentials.

    But GEM is still hoping to collect more.

    Some of the items they are requesting include the following:

    • Sheets
    • Blankets
    • Sleeping bags
    • Cots
    • Trash bags
    • Canned goods
    • Construction supplies
    • Generators

    “Because there are going to be thousands and thousands of homes that will need to buy aid, supply wood, roofing paper, shingles, all that or they will never get to go home again,” Capponi said.

    “Think of that as Hurricane Andrew but in those islands,” said Marlon Hill with the group South Florida Caribbean Strong. “That’s basically what has occurred in those islands. So we need your help to donate, volunteer and support.”

    If you are interested in volunteering for GEM, click here. For South Florida Caribbean Strong, click here.

    You can also drop off donations at the North Miami-Dade County Library, South Miami-Dade County Library, Aventura Library, Stephen P. Clark Center and the GEM headquarters in Doral.

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