Grand Bahama: before and after Hurricane Dorian
A Jacksonville farmer wanted to help the Bahamas so much, he bought 100 generators at Costco.
Besides the generators, which cost $450 a piece, he also bought food and other supplies.
His total: nearly $50,000.
The man, who wanted to remain anonymous, told news outlets he would prefer people focus on those in the Bahamas who need help.
But, his good deed quickly went viral once shopper Alec Sprague found out.
“I felt the need to thank him and shake his hand for what he was doing!” Sprague said. “They are in desperate need and wish there was more [people] doing things like this.”
He snapped a quick photo of the good Samaritan from behind, and posted it on Facebook Wednesday. A day later, it had 34,000 shares.
The farmer told CNN he was storing the supplies in a Stuart facility and Errol Thurston, his friend, was using his network of friends and boaters to deliver the supplies.
Thurston is a boat captain who lives in Marsh Harbour, a town in the Abaco Islands, according to his Facebook profile, and owns a fishing guide service.
He left the island to take a client’s boat to Florida days before Dorian struck the island chain as a Category 5 hurricane and is staying with his wife, Mercedes, who lives and works in Florida as a high school dean, CNN reports.
The moment Dorian made landfall and the images and videos of the destruction started pouring in, Thurston and his wife knew they had to take action, not just for Abaco, but for the Grand Bahama too.
Working with their friends and associates, the couple created multiple collection drives across the state, including in South Florida. They also made a GoFundMe page earlier this week to help raise funds for supplies. So far, the page has raised $106,872, as of Friday afternoon.
Thurston and his group flew into Treasure Cay Thursday with five to six thousand pounds of supplies and plan to continue bringing in supplies by plane and boat for as long as they can. The long-term goal, he said, is to help the community rebuild.
He flew over Marsh Harbour Thursday before landing in Treasure Cay and said “nothing is recognizable.”
“It literally looks like an atomic bomb went off,” Thurston told the Miami Herald.
On the ground, the sights are more devastating.
“People are looking through anything for food, water,” Thurston said. “They looked like zombies.”
Thurston said the Bahamians are strong and will rebuild their community, but they’re going to need help.
“To say they are in survival mode is underestimated,” he said.
The couple is just one of many groups organizing relief supplies for the devastated islands. In South Florida, individuals and charities launched collections of food, water and hygiene kits while others began to prepare for the long rebuilding effort ahead. Others are hosting search and rescue missions.
In Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., elected officials from both major parties have initiated calls for the Trump administration to loosen immigration requirements for Bahamians fleeing the devastation to enter the United States more easily.
“God is in control at this point. This is a giant lesson on humanity, ‘Help thy neighbor,’ ” Mercedes said in a Facebook video. “Every little bit helps, every prayer helps, every little thing. If you have one can of food to donate, that can make a world of difference to somebody.”