Local organizations working together to get supplies to hurricane survivors.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Relief efforts are in full swing locally to help victims in the Bahamas impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
Local organizations, churches, schools, fraternities, sororities, municipalities and individuals are doing their best to help those in need.
The Daytona United Hurricane Dorian Relief project is a joint endeavor between several organizations that collected items this week at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in Daytona Beach.
“We’re just trying to unite and help our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas. We’ve had a tremendous response in our community,” said the Rev. Nathan Mugala, pastor of Allen Chapel.
On Wednesday, the project was in full swing with participants organizing and sorting through items, especially clothing.
Daytona United includes the Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance; Outreach Community Care Network; Volusia County/Daytona Beach NAACP, The Links; Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration for Florida Committee, Minority Elected Officials; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; Omega Psi Phi Fraternity; Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority; Delta Sigma Delta Sorority; Sigma Gamma Ro Sorority, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
“It’s important. The message from Jesus in Matthew Chapter 20 is to give back. It’s the Christian thing to do. Many of the people lost everything and don’t have anything to go back too,” said the Rev. Victor Gooden, president of the Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance.
Change of plans
Following the hurricane, many organizations had plans to do different Bahamas relief effort projects.
“In time of crises, it’s important that we as a community come together. It’s important to help those in need,’’ stated Terrance Culver, president of the local chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
“It’s great that all these organizations are collaborating. These endeavors can also strengthen and unite our community,” he stated.
Gooden stressed, “It’s great that for the first time many of the Black organizations in Daytona came to work together.’’
Miami, then Bahamas
On Thursday afternoon at Allen Chapel, members of various organizations will load the supplies onto a truck, which will be driven to St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Coconut Grove near Miami. The collected items will then be sent to the Bahamas.
The church is one of the sites the A.M.E. Florida district has designated as distribution centers for donations to the Bahamas.
The Community Healing Project also held an event on Sept. 7 to collect donations. Those also were dropped off to Allen Chapel.
“We’re collecting clothes and supplies. We’ve even had toys donated. We thought that it would be us needing the supplies at first,” said Dyrell Johnson, CEO and founder of Community Healing Project. (He also writes a column for the Daytona Times under the name Rell Black).
“Historically, when storms come through here these communities like PPU, Caroline Village, South Street and Soul City flood like along with many of the streets. Now we will send everything to the Bahamas,” he noted.
The group planned and scrapped a cleanup that day too.
“We were going to pick up debris but Dorian didn’t leave much. Most debris was minimal and had already been removed,” Johnson stated.
The organization will continue to take donations.
“We will be doing this between six to eight weeks. Whatever we can get helps,’’ he noted.
Even young people at the Community Healing Project were anxious to give back.
J’lyssa Smith, 7, attends the second grade at Tomoka Elementary School.
Smith told the Daytona Times, “I want to help. It’s a good thing to do. Some people have no home after the storm.”
Sharnecia Gardener, 18, a senior at Chiles Academy, also wanted to help.
“It’s a good idea to help those affected by the storm. A lot of people lost a lot. Some people like those in the Bahamas lost everything,’’ she said.
Deltas host drive
The local chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is also participating in Daytona United but hosted its own collection drive on Sept. 5 as part of the national sorority’s call for action to assist storm victims in the Bahamas.
On that day at the Midtown Cultural & Educational Center, a 15-foot UHaul truck was loaded with supplies and shipped to the Bahamas via Davie.
Deltona taking donations
The City of Deltona states that it is collaborating with the Bahamian Consulate of Miami to get items to the Bahamas. Donations will be accepted until Sept. 30 at the Lakeshore Community Center, 980 Lakeshore Drive, from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursday.
Items needed include: tents, cots, hygiene products, potable/purified water, non-perishable food items, baby diapers, bottles, wipes, first aid items or kits, generators, chainsaws, tarps, debris removal tools, portable stoves, portable outdoor lamps/ lights, water purification kits, flashlights, blankets, insect repellent, portable radios, batteries, camping potties, cleaning supplies and disinfectants.