Helping Victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas
by Grade 12 student Nicholas Robinson
On September 15, my Dad and I returned from our week-long trip to New Providence Island in the Bahamas to help with hurricane relief efforts. This was a life-changing and very powerful personal experience for me. With the incredible generosity of so many friends, family and even strangers, we collectively raised over $51,000 to assist the victims of Hurricane Dorian.
During our time there, Dad and I volunteered at the airport, helping evacuees register and hopefully reunite with people who were meeting them. Sadly, this was not always the case, as sometimes the family member or friend they were expecting didn’t get off the plane. In other cases, people were transported to hotels or shelters if they had no place to stay. We also spent time in a commercial kitchen preparing thousands of meals that were being shipped to victims and volunteers on all affected islands in the Bahamas. We worked with a children’s home and community centres, where we sorted and prepared supplies for distribution to those most in need. We also purchased and delivered hundreds of items that were required for immediate aid to help victims get back on their feet. We spent our last day there working with the local Rotary club, clearing debris from the grounds so volunteers could set up dozens of tents for people who had no place else to go.
Throughout our mission, we met so many people who shared their stories with us. Some stories were very sad as we learned about the loss of lives and homes and the reality of how grave the situation really is with so many victims still unaccounted for. We spoke to the military and first responders who had been there immediately after the hurricane and listened to them describe the devastation and despair they had seen first-hand. At the same time, we also witnessed hope and human compassion at its greatest as we worked alongside thousands of local volunteers and people from all over the world who had gathered in a time of crisis to try to make a difference. Although the world can be scary, it is also full of people with kind hearts. It was so inspiring to see what people are capable of when they all come together for a good cause.
All the proceeds from our fundraising will go to three local organizations that we worked with while we were there: New Providence Community Church (local church and community centre that has partnered with multiple local organizations to deliver emergency supplies and food to crisis areas, evacuations), Ranfurly Homes for Children (overrun with the number of displaced children and is enrolling them in school), and Rotary International Bahamian Club (providing immediate relief aid to hurricane victims and resettlement of people).
I learned three main things on our journey. Number one is that it's all about teamwork. While I may have been the person in all of the photos, there was actually an entire team helping me out. This includes my dad, mom and aunt. With the help of all four of us, we were able to do wonderful things, but only because we worked as a team.
The second thing I learned was that people are inherently good. The reason why I believe this is that people from all over the world had flown down to help with hurricane relief. Locals and internationals all got together to help with the catastrophic disaster which was Hurricane Dorian, and showed me that people care.
Finally, one of the most important things I learned was that money is critical, but boots on the ground, and volunteers helping physically, is the most important thing anyone can do in a disaster such as this.