Community helps Bradenton Woman's Club rebuild post Irma

By Angie Angers, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018, 2:10 PM EST

When you step into the Bradenton Woman's Club, it's like stepping back in time.

But in September, the ladies who run this nearly 100-year-old building were afraid that this could be it.

"I thought there's no way we're going to recover," said Rebecca Biro, a Woman's Club member.

While Hurricane Irma spared much of the city, the Woman's Club building caught the storm's wrath. Its flat roof had been ripped off by the wind, and the historic floor was under inches of rain water.

"We came in, you could see the sky... the water was pouring in. Just an absolute disaster," Brio recalled.

With the roof stuck on some nearby trees, the group decided if it wanted any chance of a future it would have to ask for help. The club had about $20,000 of its own money to fall back on, but the estimated cost of repairs just to be operational was upward of $200,000.

"We have been helping the community all along, and all of a sudden we had to call on the community to help us to repair our building," said club member Fran Kain.

The race for funds was also a race against the clock. The club's big celebrity ball was already set for March, and it relies on the event for yearly funds.

"It was terrible. Because it's this event that holds us through the whole rest of the year," Kain explained.

But the community, the club says, came through in unimaginable ways.

In just three months, $180,000 in donations came through the door. By Christmas, the historic building had a new roof and repaired floors.

"It's just so overwhelming," Kain said.

The celebrity ball is set for March 3. If you would like to be a part of it, please visit