The Keys: Big Pine Key

A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to head to Big Pine Key, Florida to help with the relief efforts after Hurricane Irma struck the island. Prior to this trip, I remember wanting to help the Keys in any way that I could. But if I’m being honest, I did nothing. I didn’t donate monetarily or any canned goods for that matter. Because what would go through my mind was “Are they actually going to get the canned goods? Is the money really going to them.” Or I would see on the news that so many people were already contributing and people were sending semi-trucks filled with necessities that I didn’t think my contribution (or lack of) didn’t matter. The only way I really wanted to contribute was with my time. Because time is so valuable and I felt like the people living through this difficult time in their lives would appreciate it more. And don’t get me wrong, kudos to everyone that donated when it was (and still is) needed most.

When we got to Big Pine Key, I was taken back. I didn’t expect it to look the way it did and I guess it’s because nobody is really talking about the Keys. But this is happening in our backyards and we don’t even know it. Yet I couldn’t believe the attitudes of the locals here. They had this spirit of resilience, of “we’re going to rebuild no matter how long it takes us” and that was so humbling to experience. And they were so grateful to see us, to know that they aren’t doing this alone.

So with the help of the Red Cross and Vineyard Church, we were able to help homes with debris removal, home repairs, and landscaping. In the end, it felt like we had

accomplished very little because there is still so much devastation. Some of the locals are living with limited supplies, some with no air conditioning a lot of homes have been completely lost because of damage. Nonetheless, our contribution, your contribution, everyone’s contribution is helping Big Pine Key to get to what it once was.

I want to give a huge thank you to FIU (Florida International University) for allowing me to on this trip. And a huge thank you to the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and Carnival Cruise Lines for making this trip possible!

If you’d like to help with the relief efforts in Big Pine Key, visit Vineyard Church.

Hace unas semanas, tuve la oportunidad de ir a Big Pine Key en la Florida a ayudar con los esfuerzos para que estas personas puedan seguir adelante con sus vidas, después de que el huracán Irma azotara la isla. Antes de este viaje, recuerdo querer ayudar en los Cayos de cualquier manera que pudiera. Pero la verdad era que no hice nada. No ayude monetariamente ni con productos para las personas necesitadas, despues del huracan. Porque lo que pasaba por mi mente era: “¿Realmente las personas necesitadas van a obtener el dinero o los productos donados?” O veía en las noticias que muchas personas ya estaban contribuyendo y se estaban enviando camiones llenos de productos, que pensé que mi contribución no era necesaria. La única forma en que realmente queria contribuir era con mi tiempo. Porque el tiempo es tan valioso y sentí que muchas personas no podia donar tiempo. Y era tambien una forma de ayudar a recuperar los cayos.

Cuando llegamos a Big Pine Key, me sorprendi, no esperaba que se viera tan destruido como estaba. Habia mucha naturaleza destruida y mucha basura en general por todos los lugares. Esto está sucediendo aqui muy serca de nosotros y ni siquiera nos damos cuenta. Sin embargo, no podía creer la actidud positiva que tenia las personas nativas de querer ayudar a reconstruir los Cayos. Y estaban muy agradecidos de vernos, de saber que no estában haciendo esto solo.

Entonces, con la ayuda de la Cruz Roja y Vineyard Church, pudimos ayudar algunas familias a recontruir sus casas. Al final sienti que no habiamos hecho mucho porque todavía quedo mucha devastación. Algunos estan viviendo con lo necessario para subsistir y otros ni si querian tienen aire acondicionado. Sin embargo, la contribución de todos esta ayudando a que Big Pine Key vuelva ser lo que en el pasado era.

Quiero agradecer enormemente a FIU (Florida International University) por haberme permitido en este viaje. ¡Y muchas gracias al Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce  y a Carnival Cruise Lines por hacer posible este viaje!

Si desea ayudar con los esfuerzos de ayuda en Big Pine Key, visite Vineyard Church.



(Kristen Mayoral – FIU External Relations)





(Kristen Mayoral – FIU External Relations)




(Kristen Mayoral – FIU External Relations)


One Comment

  1. KatSized

    I am sceptical with donating to unfamiliar organizations as well! I always want to help out, but I want to make sure that I do just that and not get suckered into giving my hard earned money to a fraud. Volunteering your time and effort into rebuilding is very commendable and you know exactly how you are helping!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s