By Kate Quesada

When Valrico residents living along the Alafia River experienced flooding in their homes after Hurricane Irma, the Campo YMCA and its members jumped into action providing showers, air conditioning, Wi-Fi and a place to pick up donations.

According to Campo Family Activities Coordinator Alicia Bentley, between 30 and 40 people used the facilities at the Valrico YMCA location after their homes experienced severe flooding when the Alafia River reached historically high levels, leaving many buildings under water.

“We started as a pick-up site for those affected to get donations that other community members had dropped off at Lithia Springs Elementary School,” said Bentley. “We had about 15 to 20 families come and take donated items which made us realize we could offer them our facilities too.”

The YMCA offered affected residents the opportunity to use their facilities to shower, cool off in the air conditioning and use electricity to charge items and Wi-Fi to access the internet.

“As people started coming in we realized there were more needs,” said Bentley. “Members quickly came through with donations of towels, soap, shampoo and conditioner. Y staff helped by spreading the word via Facebook, sharing our post and telling families we had supplies to hand out.”

In addition, members donated perishable goods, water, diapers and baby wipes.

“In our Kid Zone, many families expressed that they were very thankful for the supplies, especially the diapers and wipes,” said Bentley.

Campo YMCA is located at 3414 Culbreath Rd. in Valrico and can be reached at 684-1371. For more information, visit

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.