Just weeks after Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Abacos and Grand Bahama, BahamasLocal.com set sail with the crew of the MV Impulse and the Bahamas Red Cross to answer the call of those in Little Abaco and East End, Grand Bahama, who were quickly running out of basic needs after the historically destructive storm.
Determined to make a personal impact, they loaded the luxury yacht with 16 pallets of goods including food, water, tarps, blankets, clothing, shoes, bleach, insecticide, hygiene kits, and more and made the 12 hour voyage into the banks between the Abacos and Grand Bahama.
Planning for the trip began immediately after the hurricane when the owners of the MV Impulse told their crew they could use the charter vessel to assist in getting aid to the islands that were severely impacted.
Chef Brittany and Captain John, both friends of BahamasLocal.com, did not hesitate in reaching out. “We’re not from here but we figured BahamasLocal.com would know how best we could help. Our boss is a really nice guy and as soon as he heard about the destruction he said we could use the boat to help and even gave us a budget for fuel and food for any volunteers,” said Jonathon Yoors, Captain of the MV Impulse which operates as a charter company here in The Bahamas. “We were shocked when we heard the news at BahamasLocal.com, such a generous offer by the owners of the MV Impulse. They even cancelled a trip and delayed a charter just to accommodate the relief effort,” said Vanessa Mott, Head of Marketing and Communications for BahamasLocal.com. “BahamasLocal.com is a huge website with a small team but we knew we had to do something. We were posting alerts and advisories all throughout the storm along with the videos that came in from Abaco and Grand Bahama and it was truly heartbreaking. What was worse was as media you had to look at it, you had to post it, and you had to share it.”
Once contacted by the Impulse crew Vanessa immediately reached out to the Bahamas Red Cross to see if they could assist in sending supplies to the settlements in north Abaco now isolated after Dorian washed out the only bridge to mainland. Exanna Dormeus, First Aid/CPR/Family Island Coordinator for the Bahamas Red Cross, was instrumental in arranging the delivery of 8 pallets, while Niles Saunders of Saunders Trucking arranged another 8 pallets all to be shared between Little Abaco and East End, Grand Bahama.
Once on the ground in Crown Haven, Little Abaco, the volunteers from the Red Cross and BahamasLocal.com took up the Red Cross mandate of going door to door to deliver supplies and check on the wellbeing of those who have stayed behind determined to rebuild their settlements. Once a robust community of 775 persons, Little Abaco now has a population 410. Over in the cays near McClean’s Town, Grand Bahama, the devastation is just as great leaving behind wind and salt scorched mangroves and the twisted frame of a bonefish lodge once a favorite place for tourists.
“To be there amongst people literally rebuilding their lives with damaged homes, no jobs and very little resources was sad and inspiring all at once,” Vanessa said as she reflected on the 3-day trip. “These people embody the Bahamian spirit, battered and broken yet soldiering on and we have to stand with them now and in the months and years to come. This is what is meant when we say ‘Forward, upward, onward together.’ We can only do it together.” To donate to the continued relief effort visit www.BahamasRedCross.org.