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Venice non-profit starts hurricane relief fund

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LAUREL, FL (WWSB) - Friday marks the beginning of Hurricane Season. Some local non-profits are gearing up in the event a storm hits the Suncoast. 

 "That money was very beneficial," said Sandra Terry who is the Executive Director of the Laurel Civic Association. "The people that I help are single, elderly women, families who didn't have the means to get a big ol' tree off their house."

 Hurricane Irma hit the Laurel community hard last year. The community isn't well off, but the Gulf Coast Community Foundations donors are.

 "We're able to distribute that money to non-profits and those non-profits are responsible for helping those individuals in need," said the Foundation's CEO Mark Pritchett.

 $10,000 was given to the Laurel Civic Association. 

 "About $7,000 was used just to remove debris and cut trees and get trees off of houses and move stuff out of peoples yards," Terry said.

 And when free tarps were being distributed for homeowners who had open roofs... "I wouldn't have been able to rent a U-Haul and go up there and pick up two pallets," Terry said.

The Gulf Coast Community Foundation will be setting up the fund again this hurricane season, standing by in the event another storms hits the Suncoast.

"We set up the site right before the storm is going to hit because sometimes the money comes from outside our region. We were receiving contributions from New York and Texas," Pritchett said.

Terry said the biggest problem they faced after Irma was downed trees... and this money was crucial. "We did like 28 residences just for that part of it. That money came in real handy."

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