“We’re given an opportunity in life to help one another…the degree to which we help is how we are measured,”— Matt Brear, General Manager for Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort in Long Island, The Bahamas.
Having surpassed its crowdfunding target four times, citizens of Long Island in southern Bahamas are launching their own massive relief effort for their brothers and sisters affected by Hurricane Dorian.
Matt Brear, General Manager at Cape Santa Maria resort in Long Island, told BUZZ that the residents, just over 3,000 strong, saw the devastation Hurricane Dorian caused for fellow Bahamians in the north, and sprang into action almost immediately.
The relief effort so far…
So far, several tons of supplies have been delivered, including tarps, generators, solar-powered lights, bottled water, canned food and other non-perishables, extension cords, chainsaws, mosquito nets and repellents, toilet paper, as well as other miscellaneous goods.
Brear, in an interview with BUZZ on Friday, said that their efforts to help the devastated islands hardest hit by the category 5 hurricane was inspired by Long Islanders remembering the kindness they received in 2015 after being hit by Hurricane Joaquin.
“Long Islanders should be very proud of what they have managed to accomplish and I’m just a very small part in that.”— Matt Brear, speaking to BUZZ via telephone
“When we heard of the catastrophe in the northern Bahamas, the first thought in this community was, ‘What can we do to help?’. We mobilised immediately, before the end of [Monday] while the hurricane was still raging through Grand Bahama and Abaco,” Brear asserted.
‘You helped us then, let us help you now’
Brear recalled that in 2015, Long Island was hit by Hurricane Joaquin, and it devastated the land, so its residents know firsthand about hurricanes and the struggles of recovery.
“The Bahamian people are so community-minded, and we received cargo supplies on land and by air, love, prayers and support from Abaco and Grand Bahama. That helped us in what was a very dark time for Long Island. There was a silver lining and that was the support we received. Our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters in the north,” Brear stated.
After being hit by Hurricane Joaquin, Long Islanders vowed to be better equipped for the dangerous storms and launched their own hurricane preparedness kit, which is stored and maintained to this day.
“Truly, it was the entire community. We started putting our hurricane kit on the tarmac of the Deadman’s Cay airport – preparing it to be shipped out from our island to help our brothers and sisters,” Brear contended.
“In addition to that we created a GoFundMe page and the initial goal as US$2,000 and that was [only] for the gas – to get our hurricane kit to Abaco – and we met that goal in minutes,” Brear told BUZZ.
Overwhelming support in spite of the tragedy
The outpouring of support in cash and kind from across The Bahamas and the wider world sowed the seeds of hope within Long Islanders that they could do even more to help their fellow Bahamians affected by Hurricane Dorian.
“We decided then to increase the goal and increase our efforts. Now, we really can’t keep up with the extraordinary donations, love and support we have received,” he added.
The GoFundMe, launched by Emma McGrath, has since swelled past its fourth and final target of US$24,850. As of Friday, September 6, the campaign has received over $31,000 in donations!
“When we heard of the catastrophe in the northern Bahamas, the first thought was, ‘What can we do to help?’.”— Matt Brear and the collective residents of Long Island springing into action.
All proceeds going to the relief effort for the battered islands in northern Bahamas, the most densely populated area of the Caribbean country.
“To be part of this extraordinary mobilsation of love and support has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life.”— Truer words need not be spoken. Well done, Long Island!
‘Every dollar donated goes to those affected’
In an effort to maintain transparency, all aspects of the Long Island’s relief campaign are being detailed, with receipts and other notes being made available for review. See the gallery below:
“Everything that has been purchased and everything that has been accomplished throughout every step of the way is clearly labelled and detailed on the GoFundMe page,” BUZZ was told, with Brear adding that more information can be found on the Cape Santa resort’s website.
Brear, who is originally from Vancouver, Canada, has called The Bahamas his home for the last four years.
“To be part of this extraordinary mobilsation of love and support has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life. In the face of this absolute catastrophic conditions, to see these wonderful Bahamians all, in their way, come together is amazing,” Brear told BUZZ.
“Hurricanes are horrific, and this is one of the most horrific and anything we could do to assist we have done. We’re given an opportunity in life to help one another and the degree to which we help each other is how we are measured,” he added.
Relief efforts to continue well into Septmber
Brear further explained that the GoFundMe campaign will be closed on Monday, but assured that the efforts from Long Islanders will continue for some time.
“I know that Long Islanders should be very proud of what they have managed to accomplish and I’m just a very small part in that,” Brear told BUZZ on Friday.
Hurricane Dorian slammed into northern sections of The Bahamas on Sunday – leaving widespread destruction, grief and sadness as the system delivered unrelenting, 185mph winds, as well as storm surges for hours.
Interested parties can still make donations to the Long Island relief campaign by following the link to the GoFundMe here.