Broward News

Bahamas Relief Efforts Spring to Life Across Broward, Palm Beach

The Grand Celebration approaches the Port of Palm Beach on Saturday, carrying Bahama residents evacuating from the hurricane-devastated islands.
The Grand Celebration approaches the Port of Palm Beach on Saturday, carrying Bahama residents evacuating from the hurricane-devastated islands. Photo courtesy of Palm Beach County
Volunteers and organizations across South Florida got into gear quickly in their efforts to help the hurricane-ravaged Bahamas.

Nonprofits both new and established are wasting no time pooling resources and gathering forces to head for the northern reaches of the island nation, where Hurricane Dorian laid waste to cities and towns over a period of nearly two days before departing northeastward toward the coastal Carolinas.

Relief effort organizers across South Florida put out calls to action, asking for donations and volunteers, even as they were already on the move. Here are some of the ways you can help.

Several events to support these and other Bahamas relief efforts also have been planned. Here are a few.

Palm Beach County began several coordinated efforts ahead of Saturday's arrival of evacuated Bahama residents via a Grand Celebration cruise ship. County officials say 61 evacuees were given shelter Sunday, 30 of them children.

Several county departments and partners that include Florida Health and the United Way, are working to provide direct services at the Port of Palm Beach and at donation centers and shelters across the county.

Many Port arrivals on Saturday were picked up by family members who live in South Florida, according to the county's press statement. Palm Tran buses provided transportation to Tri-Rail, Palm Beach International Airport and local rental car agencies. Others received assistance from the state in the form of a Lyft code for transportation within the county. The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority waived fees for evacuees traveling south on Tri-Rail to reunite with families and friends.

For evacuees without family and needing a place to stay, the county opened shelters at county facilities for evacuees without lodging. Accommodations are being made to provide clothing, hygiene kits, wellness and mental health services.

Six donation sites were opened over the weekend to receive National Emergency Management Agency-approved donations that included everything from water and food to tents, tools and equipment. On Saturday, roughly 25 pallets of goods were donated.

To accept cash donations, the county partnered with the United Way, and donations can be made here.

click to enlarge Volunteers for Hope 4 Hope Town organize the results of Wednesday's outpouring of donations. - PHOTO COURTESY OF HOPE 4 HOPE TOWN
Volunteers for Hope 4 Hope Town organize the results of Wednesday's outpouring of donations.
Photo courtesy of Hope 4 Hope Town

Tarpon River Brewing will host a Hope 4 Hope Town Benefit Concert on Sunday, September 8, from 1 to 7 p.m. Patrons can come grab a brew and enjoy performances from local musicians, including the Shane Duncan Band, Ashley Reda, and Christopher Ament. The concert is free to attend — attendees can give cash donations on-site and a portion of beer sales will go toward Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. Attendees also can bring along donations, as Tarpon River Brewing is also serving as one of Hope 4 Hope Town's donation dropoff points.

Organizers said tents, tarps, gloves, and landscaping equipment are some of the most immediate needs at this time. For info on needed items and supplies or to make a cash donation, visit Hope 4 Hope Town's GoFundMe page.

For updates on Hope 4 Hope Town's efforts, visit the group's Facebook page.

Hope 4 Hope Town Benefit Concert. 1-7 p.m. Sunday, September 8, Tarpon River Brewing, 280 SW Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale,, 954-353-3193. Admission is free.

click to enlarge The Great Lawn at City Hall in Coral Springs. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF CORAL SPRINGS
The Great Lawn at City Hall in Coral Springs.
Photo courtesy of City of Coral Springs

The City of Coral Springs is using its popular monthly Bites-N-Sips outing to aid Bahamian relief efforts. Bring your lawn chair or blanket to the Great Lawn at City Hall on Saturday, September 14, from 6-10 p.m. and enjoy a variety of food truck specialties, drinks, and live entertainment. A portion of the proceeds from food and drink sales, along with other Bahamian-related activities and merchandise, will benefit the cause.

The city also has set up a secure online donations option through its nonprofit Community Chest.

Bites-N-Sips for Bahamas Relief. 6-10 p.m. Saturday, September 14, at the Great Lawn at City Hall, 9500 West Sample Rd., Coral Springs; Admission is free.

click to enlarge Debris left by Hurricane Dorian litters Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport on September 4. - YASMIN RIGBY/HANDOUT/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Debris left by Hurricane Dorian litters Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport on September 4.
Yasmin Rigby/Handout/AFP/Getty Images

Rotary Club of Weston and the consumer justice law firm Freedland Harwin Valori, based in Fort Lauderdale, have joined forces to help with relief efforts for those in the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian.

The Rotary chapter is active in the Bahamas as part of the nonprofit's charitable mission, says Michael Freedland, member and past president of Rotary of Weston, "so the impact of this storm is one that is very personal."

Freedland’s son, Blake, a student pilot and founder of the Sagemont School's student Aviation Club, is working with family, friends, and a host of local organizations and businesses to fly supplies to the Bahamas as soon as the airports are open and safe.

As of Thursday, the Grand Bahama International Airport on Grand Bahamas Island and the Leonard Thompson International Airport on the hard-hit island of Abaco remain closed, while the island nation's other airports are open.

Joining the effort, Weston Hills Country Club is accepting donations Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 2600 Country Club Way in Weston.

Contributors can donate cash and/or items. Freedland reached out to the office of the Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs for a list of most-needed items, which are compiled in a PDF for easy reference.

For more info, email [email protected] or text 954-646-6642.

click to enlarge Boca Raton Fire Station 5. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF BOCA RATON
Boca Raton Fire Station 5.
Photo courtesy of City of Boca Raton

The Boca Raton Firefighter & Paramedic Benevolent Fund and the City of Boca Raton have kicked off their  Bahamas Relief Collection, coordinating to encourage and take in donations for Hurricane Dorian relief in the Bahamas at two of the city's fire stations.

Boca Fire Station 1, 1151 N. Federal Hwy., and Fire Station 5, 2333 W. Glades Rd., are accepting donations from now through Sunday, September 15. Collection hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Visit the city's website for details and a list of suggested donation items.
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Veteran journalist Teri Berg is an award-winning writer and editor. A native Ohioan, she's celebrating a decade in South Florida.