Our caring community—ways to help in the wake of Hurricane Michael

Approximately 200 UF faculty and staff in the Panhandle affected

As recovery from Hurricane Michael is underway in the Florida Panhandle, many want to reach out to assist those in need. Among those affected by last week’s hurricane were approximately 200 UF faculty, staff and graduate assistants affiliated with the North Florida Research and Education Centers in Quincy and Marianna as well as those throughout 15 UF/IFAS Extension county offices. Whether by donating money, goods or your time, there are many ways to help our fellow Floridians.


Established last fall in the wake of Hurricane Irma, Aid-a-Gator is an ongoing emergency fund through which UF employees offer support to colleagues who are experiencing a temporary hardship due to a significant life event, such as a sudden illness, family crisis or natural disaster. Aid-a-Gator is completely dependent on donations, and awards are contingent on the availability of funding at the time of application. While a small amount of funds are currently available, UF faculty and staff can donate today to help fellow faculty and staff located at UF locations elsewhere in the state. Aid-a-Gator also is part of the UF Campaign for Charities, so you can direct your contribution via payroll deduction as part of the campaign currently underway.

Donation Requests from UF/IFAS

UF/IFAS is collecting goods critically needed by faculty, staff and graduate students in the Panhandle. Faculty and staff are encouraged to bring any of the following items to the Benefits and Wellness Fair this Thursday, Oct. 18, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Champions Club in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium:

  • Nails/screws (two-inch roofing type for securing tarps to rooftops)
  • Hammers/battery-operated screwdrivers/drills
  • Miscellaneous tools – tree trimmers, limb clippers, chainsaw accessories, safety glasses
  • Work-type gloves
  • Large tarps
  • Battery-operated fans
  • Batteries – especially D cell, AA and AAA
  • Battery chargers for phones
  • Flashlights, solar-power lights and chargers
  • Empty gas cans
  • Pet supplies – dog food, cat food, kitty litter
  • Charcoal and grill-type lighters
  • Mosquito repellent and dunks (tablets for standing water)
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer and hand wipes
  • Paper goods – plates, cups, toilet paper, paper towels, plastic utensils
  • Cleaning supplies – Lysol wipes, spray, bleach
  • Duct tape
  • Non-perishable food

Please note that popular donation items like water and clothes are not needed as part of this collection process. Generators and gas chainsaws are also needed. Please email hrcommunications@hr.ufl.edu if you have larger items you would like to donate.

National Guard State Service

On Oct. 15, Gov. Rick Scott sent a letter to university presidents asking them to be mindful of Florida National Guard volunteers who have been called to assist law enforcement and first responders with Hurricane Michael recovery efforts. Both students and employees may be called to help with these efforts, and departments are asked to be supportive of requests from those called. For more information on granting military leave to faculty and staff, please see the National Guard State Service section of the UFHR Benefits Military Leave webpage.

Florida Disaster Volunteers

Faculty and staff who are certified disaster service volunteers for the American Red Cross may be granted paid leave for up to 15 workdays (eight hours per day) each fiscal year to participate in specialized disaster relief services in the state of Florida for the American Red Cross. Paid leave may be granted with the approval of the employee’s supervisor, and departments are encouraged to be responsive to such requests. Additionally, an employee who is a member of a volunteer emergency response team (defined as members of the Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Relief Organization, Catholic Charities or American Radio Relay League) may be granted up to two days of disaster leave. For more information, please visit the UFHR Benefits website.

UF Sick Leave Pool

The University of Florida’s Sick Leave Pool enables participating employees to combine a portion of their individually accrued sick leave for collective use. Members of the Sick Leave Pool may draw upon the pool — with approval from the Sick Leave Pool Committee — when all individually accrued leave hours have been depleted due to personal catastrophic injury or illness. Open enrollment to participate in the Sick Leave Pool program is now underway and runs through Oct. 31.

UF Campaign for Charities

UF employees can support one or all of the 93 charitable agencies — including Aid-a-Gator and others providing support to those affected by Hurricane Michael — that are part of UF’s annual Campaign for Charities. You can support the campaign, which runs through Oct. 19, through payroll deduction, check, cash or credit card, and your gift can be designated to a specific agency or agencies, or undesignated (given as a general donation to support all agencies).