The world watched in shock last month as Hurricane Dorian pummeled the Bahamian islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco with a force rarely seen. Those of us who had visited Andros after Hurricane Matthew and spoken with the survivors had just the smallest notion of what the residents of these two islands must be going through, and our hearts went out to them.
Immediately after the storm hit, and as damage was still being assessed, FONA set to work organizing its volunteers and lining up donors to help put together relief supplies and funding. Working with contacts on the ground in the affected areas, the FONA board members in Ohio and on the Bahamian island of Andros put together a plan for where our help would be most useful.
Today, October 12, 2019, a work crew showed up shortly after dawn to prepare to receive donations and begin boxing and organizing them into pallets. Relying on some team members’ past experiences organizing pallets of supplies to Andros, we were able to direct the best way to pack and organize the donations. Using funds raised from cash donations, FONA will be able to pay shipping costs from Ohio to Florida, and from Florida via boat to affected areas of the Bahamas. Enough cash donations will be left to provide financial assistance as well.
Working throughout the day as car- and van loads of supplies arrived, volunteers assembled boxes, meticulously weighed and arranged those boxes once packed, and arranged and wrapped pallets. Volunteers included FONA members, family, and friends, local businesses and a Bahamian family living in Ohio who stopped by to help.
By the end of the day, we had eight pallets carrying over six tons of supplies: food, clothing, kitchen and laundry supplies, personal care items, as well as toys, school supplies and sporting equipment for the Grand Bahama Children’s Home, who had 32 children under their care at the time of the storm, when the home was destroyed, and who expect a dramatic influx of hurricane orphans over the coming months.
As with most FONA events, today was a day of fellowship and service, and one that draws us closer to one another, and to our friends in the Bahamas.