SWFL organizations stock 6,000 pounds of medical supplies for Bahamas relief effort

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

The devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas continues to be a daily reality for Bahamians. In the aftermath, immediate medical attention and  long-term sustainability for Bahamians is a major necessity, and people in Southwest Florida continue to answer the calls for help.

Six thousand pounds of medical supplies are being stocked up in Southwest Florida to be shipped to Miami and then out to help the major need in the Bahamas. All supplies have been provided through the effort of four organizations in Southwest Florida.

“We remember how people from around the country and around the world supported Southwest Florida when Irma hit,” said Chris Simoneau, chief foundation and development officer with Lee Health. “And this is our opportunity to pay it forward.”

Lee Health, Southwest Florida Community Foundation, LeeSar and Florida Gulf Coast University all joined together to send medical supplies to one hospital in the Bahamas. Supplies going to the Bahamas include diapers, alcohol pads and women’s gauze sponges.

Will Prather, a trustee for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, said he saw the devastation in person last week. He is proud of the outreach Southwest Florida is providing Bahamians.

“One of the things that they were lacking in the initial part was insulin,” Prather said. “But now there’s a lot of sterilization, a lot of baby needs, women’s needs. Those were really the priorities, and it’s great to see a lot of those pallets heading over there.”

The truck filled with supplies will go to Miami Monday. The supplies will then be delivered by boat to the Bahamas.

The organizations have collectively received $36,000 to send the emergency medical supplies to the Bahamas, and Lee health said it’s still receiving donations.

Anyone looking to provide support can visit Lee Health’s donation page.

The local effort for the Bahamas hit home for FGCU student Brianna Ritchie. She said her family is finally recovering from the storm, and she’s thankful to her school and other organizations helping out.

“I feel like, with the constant awareness of the situation and the donations coming in constantly, that’s going to help rebuild faster,” Ritchie said.

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