The Bible says it’s better to give than to receive, and as a God-fearing people, Pastor Eddie Victor, of Grand Bahama’s Living Water Assembly of God, and president of the National Pastors Alliance, says the devastation left behind by Hurricane Dorian on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco has given people the opportunity to prove this piece of scripture true.
“This is not just an opportunity for the church to play an active role in the rebuilding of our community, but to once again create a safe space for all Grand Bahamians.”
Giving back to the less fortunate is perhaps one of life’s greatest joys. In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, The Bahamas has seen an outpouring of generosity from its relief partners both domestically and globally. The storm’s passing also sparked an incredible sense of community and togetherness. From ordinary citizens to business owners and emergency service providers and the clergy, Grand Bahamians from all walks of life have worked together to help one another.
At the heart of the ongoing relief efforts has been the Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation (GBDRF), formed by the directors of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) to focus solely on restoring and rebuilding the island they manage. In the days since the all-clear was given, the GBDRF launched a multi-layered relief initiative that has evolved from rescue missions, medical aid and provision of life-saving supplies to working with local churches to distribute life-saving aid to every corner of the island.
“We know we needed to engage with those already tuned in to the needs of the people to get our relief in the hands of the most vulnerable,” said Henry St. George, co-chief executive officer of the GBDRF and vice president of the GBPA. “Rupert Hayward and I connected with Pastor Eddie Victor, pastor of Living Water Assembly of God and president of the National Pastors Alliance, who then pulled in over 50 churches and organizations including Abundant Life Assembly of God, Blessed Hope Seventh Day Church, Freeport Bible Church, Home for the Aged and countless others to help us distribute effectively and to reach as many as possible.”
Victor was also instrumental in connecting the GBDRF with international aid group IsraAid, an Israel-based international non-governmental organization.
“Thousands of families have already been impacted by the relief supplies from the Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation,” he said. “Working with a network of pastors from throughout Grand Bahama, from West End, Holmes Rock, Eight Mile Rock, Freeport, Freetown, High Rock, Pelican Point, McClean’s Town to Sweetings’ Cay, the pastors are serving the people in all communities and are committed to working toward helping all those who were affected by Hurricane Dorian.”
Through the alliance, thousands of people are being provided with access to the much-needed help in their neighborhoods.
“It was imperative to us that our distribution efforts go beyond the port city limits,” said St. George. “With the help of the Coral Vita team who headed east, Pastor Eddie, and his alliance of churches, we have placed thousands of donation items into the hands of the people who need it most.”
As relief efforts continue, the organization’s social media and website (www.gbdisasterrelief.org) post daily reports of aid that has been distributed. “Transparency is of utmost importance to us. We have put together a dedicated team to make sure that we track each item we distribute, that we catalog where and who takes our aid and that we report it to our donors,” said St. George.
The GBDRF team will now look to refocus its efforts, changing donation requests from non-perishable food items to building supplies, in an effort to rebuild the island from east to west.