It's been a stressful week for most of Florida, as many of us were reminded of the enormous impact inclement weather can play in our daily lives. More than a decade ago, a series of powerful storms marched across the southeast - Charlie, Wilma, Rita and the most notorious of them all, Katrina. So, naturally this past week was especially jarring as we watched our eastern shores evacuated to avoid major loss of life. 

Thankfully, the storm stayed off shore and did not have the disastrous impact it could have had if it turned west and made landfall. Still, sadly, there was loss of life - significant numbers, in fact, in the Caribbean island of Haiti. The storm flooded many places along the US coast line and is to blame for 26 deaths along the way - 10 in Florida. 

Though United Way is not a first responder, we are certainly part of a notable family of non-profits that work to restore lives in times of crisis and throughout the year. We work in collaboration with other groups, helping to get the word out about where resources are needed the most. Our tool is a 24-hour hotline called 2-1-1.  It is 100% free to use and connects people from all communities to essential health and human services. 

Please call 2-1-1 from any phone, or go to to get help. 

We cannot control Mother Nature, but we can #LiveUnited, and help each other wake to a better tomorrow.

Deborah V. Bowie, CCE, IOM
President & Chief Executive Officer
Vendors interested in participating in our holiday shopping during the Women United Luncheon can contact
United Way
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