With COVID-19 still keeping many at home, the usual rhythms of life remain unbalanced in many communities Duke Realty serves. That’s certainly true in South Florida, where school districts in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties have been online-only since the school year began in August.
With the return to in-person learning disrupted, many of the community’s usual efforts to collect school supplies for students in need didn’t happen. But even with classes taking place online, students working at home need basic supplies—like composition books, pencils, markers, and binders—to continue their education.
Stephanie Rodriguez, South Florida regional senior vice president, said that the unmet need inspired the South Florida industrial real estate community to step forward.
“I was approached by a local broker who knew that we’d been a part of efforts like this in the past,” Rodriguez said. “Duke Realty associates are always looking for a way to help, but with the pandemic, a lot of volunteer opportunities were on the shelf. So we were excited to do our part.”
Duke Realty opened a drop-off location in one of its buildings in Palm Beach County, but the donation efforts drew from all quarters.
“We marketed the drive heavily through social media,” Rodriguez said. “We received a lot of donations from our local office staff, other brokers in the area wanted to make donations, and we had contractors make donations. We pulled from a wide array of people who wanted to do their part.”
The four-week effort has brought in more than $7,000 worth of school supplies, as well as $3,353 in monetary donations. The supplies and funds will be distributed via Connect Familias and Neighbors4Neighbors, organizations working to connect families and children in need throughout South Florida with essential resources.
“The response has been tremendous, and everyone has been so excited to be able to help,” said Rodriguez. “We’re going to help a lot of children who are really struggling. There are many children who don’t have much support with their education at home, and anything we can do to help out is very impactful.”