The floodwaters of Hurricane Ian receded nearly a week ago, but have now been replaced by everything those waters touched. Sofas, beds, chairs, appliances, books, artwork and soggy boxes now line the streets and sidewalks of several Key West neighborhoods, including Bahama Village and the New Town neighborhoods around Laird and Rose streets.

Government officials as of Oct. 4 were still waiting for Monroe County to be added to the list of Florida counties that are eligible for reimbursement for storm damages through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

But Key West families didn’t have time to wait for the government. Several community groups, nonprofits, individuals and businesses quickly stepped up to start meeting people’s immediate needs:

  • Local businessman Paul Menta created the Conch Love organization and a corresponding GoFundMe page for Bahama Village & Key West Family Flood Relief. Glad Tidings Tabernacle is administering the donations to provide assistance.  The page had raised nearly $13,000 by the afternoon of Oct. 4. 
  • Conch Town Records, the Green Parrot Bar, and We’ve Got the Keys will host a fundraiser for residents displaced by the Sept. 28 fire at 3201 Flagler Ave. The event is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11 at the Green Parrot Bar, 601 Whitehead St. Musicians and host Bill Hoebee are all donating their time and talent for the event. Those wishing to donate can do so at the event, or via a PayPal link set up at www.FantasyFest.com, or by delivering/mailing a check made out to “We’ve Got the Keys” to 922 Caroline St. 100% of proceeds will be distributed directly to the displaced residents. For more information, contact Nadene Grossman Orr at We’ve Got the Keys, 305-295-9112.
  • SOS Foundation is feeding those who have lost their kitchen appliances to Hurricane Ian. The food pantry is serving 200 hot meals daily at Frederick Douglass Gym and is hoping to raise $60,000 to continue its efforts for the estimated eight weeks it will take to replace the majority of appliances. Residents George Cooper and Judy Blume kicked off the SOS Hurricane Ian Relief Fund with a $10,000 donation. 
  • SOS is also purchasing shelf-stable and easy-to-prepare foods for residents of the Bahama Village Housing Authority Complex, who were hit especially hard by storm floods last weekend. Visit sosfoundation.org to help.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters, which is returning to the Florida Keys after a 20-year absence, delivered a shipment of food and mattresses Tuesday to Bahama Village.
  • Sister Season Fund is offering financial assistance to those displaced by the Flagler Avenue fire. Visit sisterseason.com or call 305-304-9826
  • The Key West Housing Authority is surveying damage to its public housing apartments. Call 305-809-1101 to report damage 
  • The Southernmost Moose Lodge is collecting and redistributing donated items, including clothing, furniture, food,l hygiene products, linens and towels. 700 Eisenhower Drive. 
  • United Way of Collier and the Keys is collecting money and providing a list of community resources at keyshelp.org
  • The Monroe County Community Organizations Active in Disaster (MCCOAD) is looking for donations to help locals. Some 220+ families and 70+ liveaboards were flooded and/or damaged by fire due to Hurricane Ian and are in need of mold remediation, construction assistance, furniture, appliances, food, transportation and other items and services. The best donation is cash. This enables the group to prioritize and distribute funds directly as needed to residents’ specific needs. For cash donations, please log on to uwcollierkeys.org/give. Please designate your donation to Monroe County Hurricane Ian Relief. This ensures that funds with this designation will benefit 100% Monroe County residents.
  • The city of Key West is conducting a damage assessment of local residences. Key West residents who had significant damage should call 305-809-1101. This list will be used to help determine community resources needed.  
  • Key West is working to collect storm debris from streets and sidewalks. Place debris in the city’s right-of-way, NOT on sidewalks or blocking the road. Keep debris clear of fire hydrants. Household garbage must be put in normal trash collection bins for regular pickup.
Homes on Laird Street and in several other Key West neighborhoods look to have been turned inside out, as flooded furniture and appliances now line the curb following Hurricane Ian. MANDY MILES/Keys Weekly
Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.