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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Updated: How Central Floridians can help our neighbors in the Bahamas

Posted By on Thu, Sep 5, 2019 at 12:21 PM

  • Image via Shevrin Jones / Twitter
Updated | Sunday, Sept. 8 at 2:30 p.m., with added information about supply flights out of Sanford and St. Pete, and different benefits being hosted by XL 106.7 and 4Rivers.

Hurricane Dorian largely passed by Florida without causing major damage, but the Bahamas were not nearly as fortunate, with catastrophic destruction across multiple islands leaving at least 30 people dead.
People in Bahamas needs our help, and it's easy to give and make a difference.

You can donate to relief efforts directly through:
World Central Kitchen is providing 20,000 meals a day in the Bahamas, and plans to provide 30,000 a day soon.
You can volunteer with All Hands and Hearts, or one of the airlines below.

"Johnny’s House" and XL 106.7 broadcast live from Gator’s Dockside in Baldwin Park on Friday, Sept. 6, receiving donations and needed supplies from listeners. Donations can still be made directly to Global Empowerment Mission on their website.
On Sunday, Sept. 8, 4Rivers Smokehouse and the COOP are hosting a benefit supporting relief efforts in the Bahamas.

4 Rivers Smokehouse will serve up food at several locations from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is offering to-go and online orders, too. The COOP will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is serving breakfast all day.

The restaurants are usually closed on Sunday, but will sometimes open for charity events. 4Rivers' downtown Orlando location will stay closed on Sunday. Here's a list of the Central Florida locations that will be opening for the benefit.But if barbecue's not your thing, here's a roundup of other ways to help those in the Bahamas.

Here in Orlando, relief supply efforts are being organized by state Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, who asks that supplies be dropped off at her district office at 1507 E. Concord Street in Orlando.

The drop-off days are Monday, Sept. 9 and Tuesday, Sept. 10, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

The requested supplies include nonperishable food and water, as well as hygiene and medical supplies.
Sanford-based airline, Air Unlimited, announced on Wednesday it is donating use of their airplanes to relief efforts in the Abaco Islands. They are preparing for ongoing humanitarian flights to begin as soon as they are cleared for travel.

Volunteer pilots can utilize the Air Unlimited hangar as a launch point and command center for organizing a variety of flight missions, as well, the company said. "This is in addition to collecting supplies, which will be loaded onto Air Unlimited aircraft and volunteer pilot planes to be taken to the islands."

Air Unlimited in Sanford is accepting monetary donations for supplies and aircraft fuel to transport resources and conduct medical evacuation missions at:

The Air Unlimited facilities at the Orlando Sanford International Airport will also be used as a collection point for relief supplies, such as first aid kits, rope, flashlights, hygiene products, and more. Those interested in donating critical items can follow the drop off directions below.

Drop-off location for supplies is: Air Unlimited: 4130 Centerline Ln., Sanford, FL 32773

Collection hours are 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. They recommend you call ahead to ensure staff is available at that time: 407-585-4300.

Air Unlimited is a boutique luxury airline that specializes in island flights and private aircraft charters, with routes to Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbour in the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas.

In downtown St. Petersburg, Sol Relief is also donating their aircraft and soliciting donations and a specific list of supplies needed.

Supplies can be delivered to St. Pete Air at 107 8th Ave SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 during normal business hours, which are Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

They ask you not to bring items that are not on the list. Please do not donate expired or unusable items.

In West Park in Broward County, Rep. Shevrin Jones is leading supply-collection efforts. Jones has family in the Bahamas and posted video accounts of their ordeal on Twitter during the storm. He is also listing items in need for Bahamas relief efforts.
The long-term effects of the storm are not yet fully known, but in an interview on WLRN, Americas editor Tim Padgett spoke about the Bahamas devastation and the urgent need to make the Bahamas and other islands more resilient to monster storms.

"Every time I talk to a prime minister from a Caribbean island, the point they always make is: 'Look, we have very little responsibility for the greenhouse emissions that create global warming, but yet we take the brunt of the suffering in the form of these more powerful storms."

More donation methods and volunteer opportunities are expected in coming weeks.
  • Image via Shevrin Jones / Twitter
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