We open our newsletter focusing on one charity making a huge difference in disaster relief efforts being led by John Auer and an amazing leader in Jennifer Lockwood, who is no stranger to catastrophes. On September 1, as Hurricane Dorian began its 24-hour nonstop pounding of the Bahamas, they launched a special relief effort through the St. Petersburg nonprofit Sol Relief that Jennifer founded.
Since then, Sol Relief and its volunteer pilots have flown over 80 flights, received over $1,000,000 in donations and collected over 400,000 lbs. in supply donations. Ready-to-eat meals (MREs), medical supplies, generators, and water filtration systems to create fresh drinking water have been filling airplanes provided by St. Pete Air, flying from Albert Whitted Airport in downtown St Pete.
Volunteer pilots including John’s son, Billy Auer, who is President and founder of St. Pete Air, have been making up to 6 trips a day to the affected area. John, a local businessman, pledged a dollar-for-dollar match up to $500,000 for individuals who wanted to support these missions and it didn’t take long for the money to be raised. It supports the fleet of 200 volunteer pilots with planes and fuel to increase these missions of mercy.
The group got its start delivering disaster relief in Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Jennifer has earned a reputation as an innovator of hurricane relief effort logistics and coordination. Sol Relief continues its primary mission to provide aircraft and logistical support for other nonprofit aid organizations, including MAP International, World Hope International, Lift Non-Profit Logistics, Direct Relief, and YachtAid Global.