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Surfside Tragedy: How Houstonians Can Help

Jordan Magaziner Steinfeld
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Manny Lafont, Andreas Giannitsopoulos

Two native Houstonians, 54-year-old Manny Lafont and 21-year-old Andreas Giannitsopoulos, were among those found dead in the tragic building collapse in Surfside. (Photo source: Houston Chronicle)

Tragedy struck near Miami last week when a 12-story residential building partially collapsed in the beachside town of Surfside. At least 18 people were found dead and 145 are missing. Two of those killed in the collapse were native Houstonians, 54-year-old Manny Lafont, who was born and raised in Houston and is a Sharpstown High School graduate, and 21-year-old Andreas Giannitsopoulos, a St. Thomas High School graduate and family friend of Lafont’s. Andreas had been visiting Manny, his father's best friend.

Andreas Giannitsopoulos

Andreas Giannitsopoulos, who was an incoming senior at Vanderbilt University, was a graduate of St. Thomas High School, where he was a decathlon student athlete. A GoFundMe has been set up to support his family. (Photo: KH Studio / Nathan Lindstrom) 

As the search and rescue operation continues, our hearts are in Miami. Here are a list of resources and ways we can help: 

  • GoFundMe in honor of Andreas: This GoFundMe has been created to support the Giannitsopoulos family. Andreas was an incoming senior, studying Economics at Vanderbilt University. During his time at St. Thomas, he was a decathlon student athlete and known for his kind personality.
  • Support Surfside: The Coral Gables Community Foundation, The Key Biscayne Community Foundation, The Knight Foundation, The Miami Foundation, Miami HEAT, and Miami HEAT Charitable Fund created a hardship fund to help those impacted. 
  • American Red Cross: Donate to The American Red Cross in South Florida.
  • Miami Marlins Foundation: The Miami Marlins Foundation created the Marlins Surfside Relief Fund to support those impacted.  
  • Miami HEAT: The Miami HEAT is working with humanitarian organization Direct Relief to support those impacted and to help equip first responders providing assistance. Donate here.
  • Greater Miami Jewish Federation: The Greater Miami Jewish Federation has created an emergency assistance fund to help those impacted.  

For anyone in Houston impacted by the condo collapse, Jewish Family Service Houston is offering two free support sessions via Zoom.

See a list of resources to find people here.  

Editor’s note: Know of other ways to help? Comment below or email [email protected]

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