As I helplessly watched video after video of utter devastation in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, I asked God on the morning of September 5, 2019, "What can I do to help?" By 7:00 that night I was on a flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida en route to Freeport Grand Bahama. My uncharted journey led me to East Grand Bahama, a place where relief efforts were nowhere in sight.
As fate would have it, my first stop on the Eastside was the home of Pastor Preston Cooper, Jr, leader of one of the only standing churches left on this side of the island. Pictured above: Pastor Preston Cooper, Jr. sitting in the doorway of his garage, littered with debris and two damaged vehicles.
Although his home was severely damaged, taking in over ten feet of water and having its roof violently collapse exposing him to category 4 hurricane force winds, it served as a safe haven where his family and fifteen of his neighbors were able to survive the horrific storm.This is Pastor Cooper’s neighborhood during the storm. You can see the side of his green house in the video. Take a look:
Pastor Cooper, his wife and two of his children took refuge in a tiny closet on the second platform of their house for two days while his neighbors stood in the hallway, waiting for the waters to recede and the storm to pass.Above: Pastor Cooper’s youngest son and wife retell the story of their survival:
Pastor Cooper along with other survivors on the Eastside were left sitting in the remnants of a storm that threaten their life and destroyed all of their possessions and provisions.
In spite of the catastrophe around him, Pastor Cooper had a plan -- To convert his church property into a shelter and storehouse for food, water and supplies that would allow this community an opportunity to regain a sense of normalcy so they can begin healing and rebuilding.Above: Pastor Cooper’s church
Above: Inside Pastor Cooper’s church with the water line of the flood around 8ft high.
Above: Multipurpose Building that will be used for shelter and staging of food and supplies.
The unfortunate reality of this horrific tragedy is that inspite of people sending money through charities and other organizations, the people of Grand Bahama have not received the assistance. Much has been destroyed because it’s sitting out in the heat and inclement weather. They have issues with storage and distribution. Some items are being resold to the Bahamians that have access to cash or it’s simply not reaching those in need.
Here lies an opportunity to see exactly where and how your contributions will be used. Your donations will go directly to East Grand Bahama to first secure the multipurpose building on Pastor Copper’s church property, that will serve as a shelter and central location for the community to receive hot meals and supplies.Pastor Cooper’s plea for assistance:
The following are the immediate needs of this community:To convert the multipurpose building into a shelter:
10 impact windows, 1 large exterior double door, 2 single exterior doors, 15 interior doors, 2x4x10 of pressure treated wood, nails, batteries, flash lights, construction bags, sheet rock, generator, 2 toilets, cots, pillows, sheets, blankets etc.Supplies:
water, warm weather clothes, tooth brushes, tooth paste, soap, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, mops, brooms
tide with bleach, bleach, toilet paper , cleaning supplies, socks, under wear, wash clothes, towels, utensils, plates etc.Food:
bags of rice, potatoes, beans, canned vegetables, spices, crackers, snacks, extra virgin olive oil, canned salmon, tuna, grits, oatmeal, honey, cereals like corn flakes, cherries, raisin brand, evaporated milk, soy and almond milk in a box, pancake mix, syrup, flour, snack bars etc.
Your donations will be spent purchasing these items. I will update the website to show the difference your donations have made on this community.
I’m personally working with Pastor Cooper, his son and his community to ensure the items that I purchase in the US are transported through customs and delivered directly to his church.Pictured above: 100 cases of 40ct. water and supplies placed in the shipping bin on the morning of September 6, 2019, headed to Freeport Grand Bahama.
Please feel free to send me a personal email (email@example.com
) if you have ideas of other ways to help this community.A view of the devastation on the Eastside of Grand Bahama: