By Michelle Colesanti

America Recovers was launched last fall, and when Super Storm Sandy impacted the northeast U.S., it activated its disaster response initiative which focuses on people helping people.

Local resident, Michelle Mosher, is a friend of the founder of the organization, Suzanne Novak, who is an emergency management and homeland security subject-matter expert. Mosher has helped to set up a local collection site for donation supplies for those directly affected by the Oklahoma tornado disaster. The donation site is located at Great Florida Insurance of Apollo Beach, where she works. Working with the America Recovers organization, items collected will then be transported to Oklahoma.

They are currently seeking the following items: Blankets, batteries, flashlights, snacks, sleeping bags, diapers, first-aid supplies, rakes, shovels, contractor bags, work gloves, new underclothes (socks, bras, underwear of every gender and size), water, dog food, non-perishable food, diapers, baby formula, baby food, feminine products, aspirin, bandages, soap, toothbrushes, deodorant,, sunscreen, bug spray, hygiene items, paper products, baby items, OTC medication- Benadryl, ibuprofen, hand sanitizer, canned food, totes, garbage bags, Gatorade, individually wrapped snacks.

Gift cards are also a great alternative for folks who do not want to shop. Wal-mart, Target, Home Depot, Walgreens and CVS are all cards that would be useful to helping families put their lives back together.

America Recovers founder Novak said, “We believe that changing the way we recover will change the way we prepare and respond, which ultimately will improve overall resiliency within communities across America. Regular updates on what America Recovers is doing can be found at or on Facebook at

Great Florida Insurance of Apollo Beach is located at 435 Apollo Beach Blvd., in Apollo Beach.

Donations can be dropped off between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday-Friday until the middle of June. For more information, call 645-7616 or e-mail


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Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.