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Palm Beach County Nonprofits Involved In Bahamas Relief

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Friday, September 27, 2019
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2019

Right after Hurricane Dorian’s powerful winds and torrential rain cut a devastating path through parts of the Bahamas, the nonprofit sector in Palm Beach County quickly sprang into action to help thousands of people whose lives were suddenly upended by the storm. Many nonprofit staff and volunteers worked through Labor Day weekend to gather food, water, belongings, clothing, medical supplies, diapers and other items, and then fly and ship them over to the hardest hit communities. Much of those relief efforts continue today – and so we want to spotlight the extraordinary nonprofits who stepped up over the past few weeks to help those in desperate need. Here are a few of their stories.

 

Within days of Dorian’s passage, the staff at our member organization, Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group, began gathering dozens of bags of toiletries and food destined for the Bahamas. Right away, Lake Worth West residents joined in to donate their own food to the relief effort. Those residents know all about starting over. Many of them are new immigrants who arrived in the community with barely anything and often relied on the generosity of others until they managed to find work and earn money. “Our residents wanted to give back and help out,” said Ronda Rogers, executive director of Lake Worth West. The donated bags quickly made their way to the most ravaged areas of the islands.

 

As soon as the first images of destruction surfaced from the Bahamas, another one of our members, Clinics Can Help, got busy. CEO Owen O’Neill knew there would be significant medical needs following the storm, and so his staff began preparing medical gloves, hygienic supplies, crutches, and other equipment. The center accepts used and unwrapped medical equipment and supplies, and gives them to children and adults who can’t afford them for their physical recovery. They have a warehouse filled with hundreds of donated medical items. O’Neill, a nurse, told WPTV that he wanted to help because he had been in emergency situations earlier in life when there wasn’t sufficient medical equipment and he wanted to do his part in preventing that from happening in the Bahamas.

 

Palm Beach County Medical Society also started collecting medical supplies from the public, encouraging people to drop off at their office everything from ace bandages and walkers to syringes/needles and nebulizers. Then, the organization’s physician leaders helped arrange for other doctors and healthcare professionals to volunteer for the Bahamas Celebration Humanitarian Cruise. The group spent several days treating injured patients and delivering medicine to the sick. Physicians saved many lives, including arranging a middle-of-the-night airlift to Jackson Memorial of a Bahamian hurricane victim who was initially heading to West Palm Beach.

 

Nonprofits aren’t the only organizations that got involved in helping the people of the Bahamas. Plenty of restaurants, stores, shops and other businesses raised money and collected items, too, and they should be commended as well. But it’s the nonprofits that are likely to continue on with the relief efforts in the long-run, especially once the collective attention moves onto something else. And, for that, we should all be thankful.

 

If you know a great story about a local nonprofit, please share it with Charlotte Gill, Nonprofits First’s director of development and business strategies. Her email is: cgill@nonprofitsfirst.org

Tags:  Charities  Collaborations  Emergency Aid  Leadership  Nonprofit  Volunteer 

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