(Next LFC gathering: 6:00 to 8:00pm at Plantation Park- 875 Davis Pond Blvd, 32259 – on Sunday, September 8. We’ve reserved the pavilion. Bring some picnic for yourself and some to share. Bring your own wisdom about the best ways to offer relief to those impacted by Hurricane Dorian.)
Relief precedes recovery after a disastrous hurricane. Relief is about providing food, water, emergency medical care, and a safe(r) place to sleep at night. It’s about “treating for shock and stopping the bleeding” to use the first aid metaphor. Recovery follows. It’s a longer process. It is about returning to communities to vitality and health. Relief is on a time line. You only have weeks from an initial disaster to prevent the onset of compounding disasters, like famine or plague.
For those affected by Hurricane Dorian, this is the time for needed relief. One of our values at LoveFirst Coast is hands-on and face-to-face mission. That said, if you are not sure how to get connected to relief efforts at this point, then probably the best way to help is through sending financial and material support as requested by relief agencies. We don’t have anyone (that I know of) heading for the Bahamas. We plan to give. A good resource for researching and considering how to give is Charity Navigator. They have a page dedicated to Hurricane Dorian. If you want to give locally, contact your church, look on-line. If you have influence in a network, consider finding a creative way to help others give. My friend Michael has connections with Missionary Flights International. That organization has been working in the Bahamas for decades. They have thrown their aeronautical resources toward relief, making the short hop from Fort Pierce to the Bahamas with much needed relief supplies. Michael and some friends created a resource on GroupRev (kind of like a charity friendly GoFundMe) called Hope for the Bahamas to raise awareness and gather resources to support Missionary Flights International. Another friend, Tom, created a link for donations to Samaritan’s Purse on his Facebook feed. (Try clicking on this link.) He also encouraged people to see if their employers would match their donations. I bet you could do both.
There are opportunities to volunteer with existing organizations. If you are healthy and strong, skilled, or experienced in hurricane relief, connect with support that has already has been organized. If you are a leader in a corporation with things to offer, find a way to offer it! If your corporation can provided logistics, shipping, supplies, or provisions, then please use your influence to address the need. I noticed Publix is partnering with the American Red Cross. That’s good stuff. I met a pilot who flies supplies for a corporation. His company is sending him and his plane to the Bahamas. He’s collecting food and water supplies. I saw on-line that there is much volunteering going on. People with small boats and planes have been heading out from Florida to the Bahamas. (If you want to do something like that, do your research, plan carefully for you own safety (many well meaning people add to disasters by failing to plan) and send us a prayer request.
And don’t forget your local church! One of our mission partners is Faith Community Church (3450 CR210, 32259). They are collecting relief items through 1pm on September 15 and working with through connections in their denomination to deliver. Here’s the list of what they are collecting:
- Blankets and Sheets
- Insect Repellent
- Non Perishable Food Items (Dried goods, Canned, Manual Can openers) ·
- Solar Lights and Lamps ·
- Flashlights and Batteries ·
- First Aid Kits ·
- Baby Supplies (Diapers, Bottles, Wipes, Formula) ·
- Kitchen Items (Pots, Plastic Dishes, Cutlery, Garbage Bags, Bleach) ·
- Feminine Hygiene Products ·
- NEW, IN PACKAGE undergarments and socks for all ages
Last thing: recovery efforts will be going on for a long time. There are still recovery efforts underway in Houston and Panama City from last year’s hurricanes. Recovery in the Bahamas will be going on for years. Look for an opportunity to take part.
Last thing: Pray for the Bahamas. Pray for the Outer Banks. The Lord often meets people in their darkest places. It’s where his light shines the brightest.
(Self-attributed image from the internet.)