Hurricane Dorian is no longer existing in the tropics, but the devastation the catastrophic storm left for Bahamians to deal with is a daily reality for communities struggling to find new homes after the storm swept them away.
In the aftermath of Dorian, communities are still searching for loved ones, friends and neighbors, as at least 600 people remain missing in the Bahamas.
Aid has continued to flow into the island nation, but the people are still in desperate need of supplies. People in Southwest Florida continue to answer the calls, as efforts continued this weekend to donate necessities.
The group, Bahamas Relief Aid, began hosting its weekend donation drive at Miromar Outlets Saturday in Estero to gather supplies Bahamians are desperate for amid Hurricane Dorian’s destruction .
Michael DeVolder, who started the group, began preparing to help those in the path of Dorian’s destruction before the storm had even left the islands.
“I knew I had to act and react,” DeVolder said.
Bahamas Relief Aid currently hosts a website to raise money and organize donation events for Bahamians affected by the destruction of Hurricane Dorian. DeVolder connected with the Bahamian government to help launch the relief effort. This way, he was able to confirm what people needed most.
“They articulated that they need tarps, they need tents, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, baby products,” DeVolder said. “And they even mentioned pets.”
DeVolder is hoping he will collect all that and more at the donation events this weekend.
“They need everything,” DeVolder said.
And members of the community are bringing what they can to help.
“We bought a bunch of clothes and some towels and sheets,”” donor Maite Mugica said.
“We brought baby food diapers, water, canned goods and some pasta, dry goods,” donor Kathy Kinsella said.
The effort has received attention and gained support from FedEx. The shipping company plans to help transport donations to Freeport on Grand Bahama and to the Abocos this week.
“I thought it was a great cause with how blessed we were in Southwest Florida to give back to those who were affected by Hurricane Dorian,” Kinsella said.
DeVolder is hoping for continued support from the community. Bahmas Relief Aid will continue collecting donations 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Miromar Outlets. For more information about the event and a list of items needed, visit BahamasReliefAid.com.
“What little you can give means a huge amount to these people who have nothing,” DeVolder said. “And that’s what we’re asking for.”