UCF on Thursday began handing out money donated by the university community to help students displaced by the recent fire at nearby Tivoli Apartments.
Checks totaling $22,000 will be distributed to 44 University of Central Florida students who were among the roughly 75 Tivoli residents affected by the fire. Each student will receive $500, with half the money designated for food and half for personal items.
In addition, Knights Helping Knights Pantry has begun distributing store gift cards and supplies that were donated for the benefit of Tivoli victims.
The fire at the privately owned apartment complex near campus left many students without permanent housing, and those without renter’s insurance face replacing lost clothing and other items out of their own pockets.
The UCF Foundation and Knights Pantry collected donations on their behalf. Students, faculty, staff and alumni rallied to help, with contributions from 333 donors totaling about $30,000 so far. That includes one alumnus who donated 14 new laptops to replace those some students lost to the fire.
About 75 donors made up of faculty, students, departments and alumni gave directly to Knights Pantry, which collected more than $700 in gift cards, 150 pounds of food, 30 bags of clothing, multiple small appliances and furniture items, bedding and towels, toiletries and school supplies. Tivoli fire victims are given unrestricted access to toiletries, clothing and the food donated explicitly for them, in addition to more the Pantry’s regular inventory supply.
An early estimate pegged the number of UCF students affected by the fire at 25. But more have come forward and sought help since then.
Many of the students found temporary or permanent housing with family or friends. The university also offered free, temporary housing in Lake Claire, an on-campus student housing community. At the peak, eight former Tivoli residents chose to stay in Lake Claire. As of Thursday, one student remained.
Contributions are still being accepted. Monetary donations can be made online. Food, toiletries or Publix and Walmart gift cards can be dropped off at Knights Pantry in Ferrell Commons from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.