Village launches ‘Florida Cares for Katrina Victims'

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

Village ‘adopts’ Mississippi community,starts fund-raising effort Florida n The Village of Florida has launched “Florida Cares for Katrina Victims,” a community-wide fund-raising effort underway now through Oct. 23 in support of the critical needs of Moss Point, Mississippi. Organizers John Witterschein, committee co-chair of Florida Cares and CEO of Pharmline, a Florida-based company, and co-chair James Mezzetti, president of Myles Financial Services, recently traveled to Moss Point for meetings with city officials to determine where Florida Cares donations could have the most immediate and positive impact. “Moss Point was a community very similar to Florida in terms of size and demographics ... whose residents are very much like you and me,” Witterschein said. “After enduring the storm and losing their homes, they are now living in trailers and campers, lining up each day to take their meals communally in Army-like mess tents. Bathrooms and showers are in tents and tractor trailers located outside of what is left of City Hall. “We have to do everything in our power to help this community get back on its feet,” Witterschein added. There are three ways Florida Cares ask village residents to help the people of Moss Point: • Make a monetary donation to Florida Cares, P.O. Box 536, Florida, N.Y. 10921. Contributions will go directly toward the purchase of back-up generators, pumps and motors. According to the organizers, Moss Point’s water and sewer infrastructure has been compromised by the flooding. The system is constantly failing, making it difficult for people to return to any homes that are still standing. Florida Cares has specifications on the equipment required and intends to purchase directly from manufacturers and to deliver the equipment directly to the Moss Point DPW. “Our fund raising goal is $100,000 and thus far we’ve raised $15,000,” said Mezzetti. “If every Florida resident donated just $30 to Florida Cares we would reach our goal.” Cash and checks will also be accepted at Marina’s Deli and Werner’s True Value Hardware. • Contribute to the collection drive for clean-up and personal hygiene items. George Byars, head of the relief efforts in Moss Point, said the following items are needed: Diapers, infant formula, shaving cream, razors, band-aids, Ensure, toilet paper, Clorox III, first-aid kits, toothpaste/toothbrushes, dust masks, blue latex gloves. All donations may be dropped off at the trailer parked in front of Zircar Ceramics Inc. on Main Street in the Village of Florida across from Farries Avenue, or Sturr Park on Oct. 23. • Attend the Florida Cares Relief Concert and Fun Day on Sunday, Oct. 23, from noon to 5 p.m. at Sturr Park on Bridge Street. The Florida Fire Department has volunteered to put on one of its famous BBQs, and John Karas of Myles Financial Services is heading up the entertainment program that includes Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra, The Rob Cannillo and Friends Band and Mike Holmes and the Groovy Tuesday Band. John Moultrie and Natalie “Nat the Cat” Gubala of WTBQ Radio will serve as Masters of Ceremonies. Florida Cares is a new, charitable, not-for-profit organization that was formed by a group of citizens, civic groups and members of the local business community to help organize and implement a coordinated effort by the people of the village of Florida to lend assistance to fellow Americans. Among those also contributing to the organizing effort are: Mayor Jim Pawliczek and Village Realty; Howard Mills, New York State Superintendent for Insurance; Bill Schultz Woodworking, Phil Hamling, Zircar Ceramics Inc.; Florida Fire Department; John Karas; Bob Pugh, Allstate; Remee Products Corp.; Werner’s True Value Hardware; Spiegel & Jones; Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra; The Rob Cannillo and Friends Band; Mike Holmes and the Groovy Tuesday Band; WTBQ Radio; Pharmline Inc.; Myles Financial Services; Janerin Communications; and Fox Imaging and Squarehead Design. For more information on Florida Cares, contact Mezzetti at 845-651-3070,, or Erin Rice-Mills at 914-443-6436.