Keys Disease: Because We KAIR, Part 2

Keys Disease: Because We KAIR, Part 2

Thank you to everyone who came out and did some Early Christmas Shopping for KAIR last Saturday at the Tropical Island Outlet. Because of your generosity, we were able to present a $700 check to KAIR. It is so gratifying to be a part of this community where we all come together to help our friends and neighbors in times of need.

I believe there’s a special place in The Great Hereafter for the locals who came out and shopped for a great cause. I got a chance to work the store, and I’m still overwhelmed at the generosity of many of you. Marlene and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Because of the economic downturn and the resulting human need, KAIR came within four days of totally running out of food to distribute. And then having the mainland-based food bank that KAIR relies on lose 93,000 pounds of food to a warehouse fire only exacerbated the problem. Although the warehouse where KAIR got its supplies from wasn’t harmed, losing that much food to the fire remained a huge problem for the main South Florida food bank that serves four counties (including Monroe).

Within days, this community really came through. In addition to our event, the Community United Methodist Church donated a huge amount to KAIR. And then, another fund-raising idea sprouted from the fertile mind of Stan Haines. Last Tuesday’s KAIR-athon radio benefit brought in over $6,000 in donations to KAIR, as well as a good amount of food for the pantry.

Special thanks go out to Keys Radio Group, Joe Nascone, and Ann O’Bannon for putting this event on the air all day. Even bigger thanks go to Rich for staying out on the remote Boot Key location as the show’s producer and engineer.

Mike Puto was the “collection agent,” while Dave’s Island Taxi served as the fund ferry to bring donations to the Collectors Corner KAIR-athon Headquarters. And Frank’s Grill catered a tasty lunch for those donors who chose to bring their donations to Collectors Corner. They also provided nourishment to keep Stan and Ann on the air all that time.

The biggest thanks, however, go to the donors who gave to this worthwhile cause. By doing so, the Middle Keys community has once again stepped up to help those of us who really need a helping hand. It showed the real reason why Marathon is known as the “Heart” of the Keys.

For those who may have missed these events, KAIR is now approaching one of their busiest times during the year. KAIR currently distributes over 7,000 pounds of food each month from their USDA-approved food pantry, a need that has doubled during the last year in this economy. During the upcoming holiday season, KAIR will provide Thanksgiving and Christmas Feast Baskets to local families right here in Marathon. Last year, 250 Keys families who would have otherwise gone without had Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner thanks to KAIR.

If you missed your chance to donate at the Tropical Island Outlet or the KAIR-athon, it’s still not too late. Find out more at, or call KAIR at 743-4582 and offer to donate or volunteer.

Scottish writer Samuel Smiles said, “The duty of helping one’s self in the highest sense involves the helping of one’s neighbors.” Do yourself a favor – help your neighbor! And thank you to all those who did this past week!

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