SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - Communities across South Florida stand in solidarity with Surfside, as people from all walks of life come together to give back in any way they can.
The slew of support comes days after a wing of Champlain Towers’ South Tower crumbled to the ground.
As of Monday morning, nine people have been confirmed dead, and 152 others remain unaccounted for.
“The outpouring of support, we all feel it. It means so much to us,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
Andreas King-Geovanis, the CEO of Sextant Stays, is offering housing to some of the families.
“We are looking for victims of the Champlain Towers who have been dislocated, and we are trying to give them some sense of normalcy, some sense of familiarity at our property, free of charge,” he said.
The people behind the organization We Finish Together aim to send messages of hope to those affected by giving medals with handwritten notes.
“The medal is actually a way of getting a message to somebody, and they can hold onto it, they can wear it, they can put it in their pocket,” said a spokesperson, “and they always know they have the strength of somebody else in their pocket.”
Others have turned to faith.
On Sunday, Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Miami Beach held a Mass where the priest recited the names of members who remain missing following the collapse.
“I came today to say a prayer and try to get some strength. It has been a hard few days,” said a parishioner who identified herself as Janice.
Parishioners prayed for the families who were able to get out and for those who did not.
“My granddaughter is friends with two of the people in the building,” said Janice. “One family made it out — they were in the part that did not collapse — but the other family did not.”
Church member Michael Lopez said the now collapsed condo building was the place he called home for more than 20 years.
“As soon as we opened the door, the apartment right next to us was gone. It was just like debris,” he said. “Then, like, 10 feet past that, it was empty. We were able to see the beach.”
The community is stepping up to help Lopez, and all those who had their lives changed in an instant.
“It’s affected me personally, but to see how it affected everybody in the community, and to see how they’ve come together, I’ve grown as a person,” said memorial organizer Leo Soto. “Like, I’ve always said I’m not the same person that I was four days ago.”
As of Sunday afternoon, the Support Surfside fund has raised more than $1.2 million.
Those who have missing loved ones should visit the Family Reunification Center, located at 9301 Collins Ave., or call 305-614-1819.
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