Food For The Poor Forges New Partnerships on Long-Term Bahamas Recovery
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2019) A team from Food For The Poor recently traveled to the Bahamas to follow up on initial meetings that could yield specific ongoing projects to help Bahamians rebuild after Hurricane Dorian.
“It’s been two months but the damage is like it happened last week,” said Food For The Poor Executive Vice President Ed Raine, after seeing the aftermath of Dorian firsthand on Grand Bahama Island. “The mold is terrible, even a couple of months later. You can smell it. Everyone’s furniture is damaged. All the walls have got water damage and the drywall needs to be removed.”
The trip was organized by Patxi Pastor, Co-Founder of Mission Resolve Foundation. The foundation has been working closely in an ongoing collaboration with the Bahamian government to determine the critical areas of need in order to serve as a liaison for those looking to assist in the Hurricane Dorian recovery effort.
Raine was joined on the trip by longtime Food For The Poor donor Martin Babinec; Kevin Langley, President of Entrepreneurs Across Borders, Inc.; and Dwayne Reynolds, Food For The Poor’s Bahamas Project Manager. Babinec and Langley are experienced entrepreneurs committed to uplifting people in need. Entrepreneurs Across Borders, Inc. is a global nonprofit organization co-founded by Babinec and Langley that helps emerging entrepreneurs connect with resources they need to create jobs, sustainable livelihoods and equitable growth in developing countries.
The group met with Bahamian government leaders to talk about a plan for addressing immediate rebuilding needs such as lighting, chassis to move shipping containers, building supplies to rebuild homes, and how to accelerate business development given how hard businesses were impacted by the storm.
Volunteers also are needed to aid in the cleanup and debris removal.
The Bahamian government told Food For The Poor it needs 750 solar-powered lights in east Grand Bahama Island and Abaco Island.
“There is no power,” Raine said. “Most people are coming out for the day, doing what they can to repair their homes and going back to Freeport at night. Some are living in tents outside their damaged homes.”
Food For The Poor is working with longtime partner Water Mission to install two desalination units in the Abaco Islands after Hurricane Dorian caused salt water to infiltrate much of the Bahamas’ existing water supply. Each unit will provide 4,000 gallons of clean water a day.
The charity also is working with Mission Resolve Foundation, the charitable arm of Fort Lauderdale-based Resolve Marine Group, whose core business includes rescuing ships and their crews, removing ship and vessel wreckages and cleaning up oil spills. Both organizations have already delivered more than 1 million pounds of resources to the Bahamas and are working to clear debris from Marsh Harbour, so ships can come in and docks can be rebuilt.
Churches also will play a key role in the rebuilding of the Bahamas. Food For The Poor is partnering with Episcopal, Roman Catholic and Baptist churches in the Bahamas to lay the groundwork for the longer-term recovery effort. Dr. Timothy Stewart, President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, helped set up meetings with the charity and Bahamian government leaders.
“The churches know their communities best, who is hurting and how we should prioritize assistance,” Raine said.
At least 67 people are dead in the aftermath of Dorian, which stalled over the Abacos and nearby Grand Bahama for more than a day with its 185 mph winds. Many areas are expected to be without power for up to 18 months.
More than 13,000 homes were destroyed, according to news reports.
Raine said Dorian has created a new class of poor families in the Bahamas who may never recover without outside help.
Food For The Poor has responded to the urgent need for aid and shipped 25 tractor-trailer loads of relief goods. Items sent have included generators, two-burner stoves, blankets and tarps, rice casserole meals, bags of rice and a general assortment of food, juices, water, chainsaws, diapers, hygiene kits and 5-gallon buckets.
The charity has worked with the Archdiocese of Nassau, the Episcopal Church, and HeadKnowles Foundation, which is working in conjunction with Sandals Foundation, to identify the greatest needs and coordinate distribution of aid to churches and shelters.
HercRentals. of Bonita Springs, Fla., recently donated two front-end loaders to Food For The Poor. Both were shipped to the Episcopal Church in Freeport where they can be used to remove debris and assist with construction.
The Rotary Clubs of District 6990, which includes Southeast Florida, the Keys and Grand Bahama, recently donated two shipping containers of goods to the charity, including food, water, hygiene items and cleaning supplies.
The Bethel Baptist Church received the latest three containers. The Rev. Dr. Jean Paul Charles, President of the Haitian Pastors League, comprised of about 100 clergy across the Bahamas, is overseeing distribution of aid to the Haitian community.
Charles recently visited Food For The Poor’s Coconut Creek headquarters and talked about the ongoing needs for basic necessities.
Raine said the charity is committed to the Bahamas recovery.
“We’re going to be here for the long run,” Raine said. “It’s not just people’s homes that have been destroyed. It’s their livelihoods.”
To make a donation, please go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/bahamas.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned or abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
Mission Resolve Foundation was established through an innovative collaboration between Resolve Marine Group and The Celebration of the Sea Foundation. The initiative has begun with the introduction of the 216-foot HERV (Humanitarian & Environmental Response Vessel) “LANA ROSE” as a new category of vessel to serve as a global catalyst to engage, educate and inspire the public in best practices for humanitarian aid, civic engagement and the deployment of applied science. Mission Resolve was established to provide humanitarian relief and disaster preparedness training in addition to support for the deployment of actionable solutions to pressing global environmental challenges. The organization intends to begin adding a fleet of additional vessels in other areas of the world in order to serve multiple countries simultaneously on an international basis. For more information about how you or your organization can collaborate with or support Mission Resolve please contact Amanda Martin at 239-370-8696 or Amanda@MissionResolve.org.
Entrepreneurs Across Borders, Inc. is a global not for profit organization that identifies, curates and connects emerging entrepreneurs in impoverished areas with resources they need to create jobs, sustainable livelihoods and equitable growth. We believe entrepreneurs play a critical role in building strong and stable communities. For more information about how to support micro, small and medium size firms in developing countries please visit www.eaborders.org.
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