Raising money for victims of disasters
It’s surprising what kids can accomplish with the support of parents. Case in point: Kids Care Disaster Relief. When Hurricane Michael devastated Mexico Beach and tore through communities in Northwest Florida on October 10, 2018, 7th grader Kristina Podlasek had flashbacks to Hurricane Irma that caused havoc in Southwest Florida in September 2017. She not only remembered the storm’s wrath and living in one room with a generator for weeks, but how it affected people, leaving them in need of so many things beyond immediate food, clothing and shelter.
Kristina together with five of her classmates at Canterbury School in Fort Myers came up with the idea to create and sell band-style silicone bracelets with Hurricane Michael printed on the outside and the storm’s coordinates on the inside. They chose blue, the color of water, to represent the huge surge that wiped out Mexico Beach.
It didn’t take any convincing for Kristina’s parents Elke and Bryan Podlasek to support her newly formed Kids Care Disaster Relief. Their Island Cow restaurant on Sanibel became the first sponsor, purchasing 3,000 bracelets to help launch the nonprofit.
“The things you take for granted are gone,” says Kristina about how hurricanes and other disasters change your life. “If we all work together, we can make a difference.” Dedicated to the mission of building a children’s network throughout the United States to raise money and help those affected by current and future national disasters, Kristina enlisted her classmates
The Kids Care Disaster Relief team receive support for their project from the Bank of the Islands on Sanibel. Front row: Kat Sanders, Maya Shuster, Kristina Podlasek and Willy Ocasio, the bank’s vice president & office manager. Back row: Ellie Appelgren, Olivia Hoy, Colin Cambell and Susan Schulte, teller ser vices representative.