Hurricane Dorian hit The Bahamas with such force it was as if a tornado that lasted days descended upon them as the storm surged floods across the lands. The devastation is unimaginable. A catastrophic event. Pure hell.
We watched it unfold online via Bahamian news channels and couldn't believe what we were seeing from people in Abaco and Grand Bahama. You couldn't help but cry, except we wanted to do more than that - we wanted to be of actual help. Not just the thoughts and prayers we already had for those suffering. Then we saw an interview with Gina Knowles of HeadKnowles and was so struck by her and their group's work that we immediately had to donate to their community efforts. We thought of our friends back in Florida who always spoke of visiting loved ones in The Bahamas. How were they all faring now? We learned of the small Jewish community in Freeport with a synagogue dedicated to a "marrano" that came across with Columbus. We learned of all the immigrants in shanty towns on the islands of Abaco. We saw the overlays of flood maps versus old satellite photos. We heard the soundbites that got through WhatsApp and the pleas from family, newscasters, and officials. We wanted to do more.
As we started to post a few donation sites on our social media pages so those who wanted to donate as well could (or could at least share if they were unable to donate themselves), we coincidentally had questions from others offline on which would be the best charities to which to give. "I feel like some of these places take my money and put it toward other things," was just one of the many concerns we heard. We listened, and decided to put together a page for those of our followers who want to help, too, but just don't know where to start.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, and still never donate to anything you don't feel comfortable donating to (especially without doing your own due diligence), but we hope these suggestions at least get you started. They are for groups we've personally looked into, and have either already donated to or hope to donate to in the future. Please note that while the donation drives for supplies are great, it is even better to donate money as then supplies can be purchased from parts of The Bahamas that weren't affected so that money can stay in the country, too.
THIS LIST WILL BE UPDATED OVER TIME.
Last Update: 8:17pm AZT, September 6, 2019.
HeadKnowles: Hurricane Relief for Dorian GoFundMe
According to their GoFundMe, started by co-founder Lia Head: "...what started out as a small group of people on the Facebook page HeadKnowles, founded by myself, Lia Head and Gina Knowles, has now become a movement fueled by people eager to give back. We have managed over $2M in relief funds Hurricane Joaquin relief in 2015. Once again in 2016, we established a committed group of volunteers who worked tirelessly to assist those devastated during Hurricane Matthew for Ragged Island, North Andros, Grand Bahama and New Providence. In that effort, which is still ongoing, we have managed over $4mil to date.
That said, the road ahead to restoring and rebuilding our communities after Dorian, both short-term relief and sustainable relief in these islands is a great undertaking and we need your support to accomplish this. Victims need food, water and other essential supplies to survive during this time. We need building materials and gas for the planes and boats that are transporting supplies to the islands, in order to help put their lives back together. We cannot do any of this without monetary funds to support our efforts. The money we receive will go directly to purchasing these essential supplies and we will provide our donors with financial statements to account for every dollar donated. Donors will be able to see with all transparency that their money is being used to get our Northern Island communities what they need..." Read the rest of this statement and more at their GoFundMe.
From BZT: This is the group we mentioned in the write-up above this list and was the first we posted on social media. We've donated to them already and hope to donate again soon. As of writing this 5:12pm on September 6, 2019, they have raised $947,167 of their goal (which has been upped to $10,000,000).
Team Rubicon: Accepting Donations for Hurricane Dorian Relief
According to their site: "Team Rubicon serves communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service, leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises." Read more on their Mission page.
From BZT: We've heard a lot of good things about Team Rubicon and, while we haven't personally donated yet, know of others whom have and hope to do so ourselves in the future.
Help My Bahamas: A GoFundMe by Jonquel Jones
According to the GoFundMe:
From BZT: Jonquel Jones is a player for the Connecticut Sun WNBA team. We heard about her GoFundMe while keeping up with news from back East after family had asked about Dorian donations (the Als were both born in CT). We haven't personally donated yet but hope to, and already shared this one with family (and CT women's basketball fans) back home.
World Central Kitchen: Donate Directly to Their Efforts
From their donation page: "Help us uplift communities in need through chef-prepared meals.
With your help, we served over 5 million fresh meals in 2018 to people in need! Your donation today will be used to support our emergency food relief efforts and long-term programs."
From BZT: You may have heard of World Central Kitchen before - they're the organization run by Chef José Andrés that has been serving meals to those in need around the world. They are currently in The Bahamas working on serving thousands of meals to survivors of Dorian. We haven't personally donated to this one yet but have wanted to for a while, they've done some really great things in the past and will continue to do so in the future with everyone's continued support! Read about their efforts here.
Chabad Bahamas Hurricane Relief: Hurricane Dorian Relief Effort
From their site: "Hurricane Dorian struck the Abaco Islands on Sunday, September 1, followed by Grand Bahama Island, as the strongest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, with historic 185 mph winds and up to a 23 ft. storm surge. The storm has left the country in a state of shock and Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands – where the eye made landfall – completely devastated.
Chabad's disaster relief fund will assist those most impacted by Hurricane Dorian, in the form of emergency supplies such as clean water, food, clothing, first aid kits and generators which they are in dire need of.
In addition, we will continue to support those most vulnerable in long term recovery assistance and help the residents rebuild.
All donations to this fund will exclusively support relief and recovery efforts in areas impacted by the storm."
From BZT: We learned the only synagogue in The Bahamas is in Freeport, where a small Jewish community still resides. As we saw the devastation coming out of Freeport, we started looking into things more to see if there was any information on the community in the aftermath and discovered there was also a Chabad in Nassau, New Providence - an area that wasn't affected much by Dorian at all. They are working with other Chabad organizations in South Florida and the Keys for supply donations and are also running a monetary donation fund. Information and links for both can be found on their new Dorian relief site here.
Charity Navigator: Dedicated Hurricane Dorian Page
From BZT: Charity Navigator is a great place to find out if the charity you want to donate to is a reputable one. They have put together a list of highly-rated organizations that are set to help, which you can find by clicking here.
From their site: "Empact Northwest is a registered 501(c)(3) Non-profit organization founded in 2010, fielding an international Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, a medical team, canine and technical search elements, and a free-standing logistical support unit. In addition, Empact Northwest provides disaster preparedness support to underserved communities, and affordable, professional technical rescue training to emergency responders."
From BZT: Saw one of their team leaders on Eyewitness News (Bahamas) discussing their work to find those trapped and unaccounted for in Abaco and Grand Bahama. Still reading up on them, but they formed in 2010 to help after the earthquake in Haiti and have continued helping others ever since. Teams include doctors and search dogs, and utilize specialized acoustic equipment to locate survivors buried or trapped in rubble.
DorianPeopleSearch.Com: Find loved ones in The Bahamas.
From BZT: Saw a news segment with the woman who started this website. She realized there were so many people creating missing persons pages on Facebook and they all had their own focus, so she wanted to help consolidate the efforts into one place. Wanted to share.