JACKSONVILLE, Florida — Many families on the First Coast are breathing a sigh of relief that they weren’t met with the same destruction that overtook the Bahamas. Now, the focus for many has been shifted to how the community can help families who were impacted by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.
There are local efforts, and many efforts around the globe, that are working to send supplies overseas, including efforts by the Jacksonville Bold City Church, where they are working hard to live up to their namesake.
Lead Pastor Jason Masters says they’re loading up the planes of local pilots with donations, and they hope to start flying out supplies to the Bahamas this weekend.
"We want to be a church that embodies what this city stands for," Masters said. "It was so close, it could have been us."
Shannon Harris also works with Bold City Church and is trying to spread the word about their efforts.
"It’s heartbreaking that it hit there," she said. "We’re thanking God it didn’t cause as much devastation here."
The need for outreach hits close to home for her since she lost everything in Hurricane Irma last year. You may recall her from the First Coast News documentaries "Five Feet High and Rising" and "Irma: One Year Later."
"My husband and I had just gotten married and lived in San Marco and lost our house on Cedar Street," Harris recalled. "It was crazy."
Now she and nearby families are hoping to help Bahamian families rebuild their homes and their lives.
They’re accepting whatever people can give and are hoping to send someone with the pilots so people can know their donations make it over safely.
Julie Howlett is one of many who dropped donations off. She and her husband are praying for the families in the Bahamas.
"It’s so easy to lose hope when there is something like this happening and we just want to show them that there are people out there who care about them and love them and to just not give up," Howlett said.
Bold City Church will be collecting donations again Friday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. at their Circle of Love headquarters located at 13519 N. Main St., Jacksonville, FL, 32218.
They supplied the following list of donation suggestions based on the greatest needs currently:
- Plastic sheeting
- Chain saws
- Mops and buckets
- Work gloves
- Wet wipes
- Large trash bags
- Chlorine tablets
- Paper towels
- Water and water containers
- Canned goods/non-perishables
- Baby food
- Baby formula
- Baby wipes
- First Aid kits
- Mosquito repellent
- Hygiene kits
- Soap/body wash
- Icy Hot
- Toilet Paper
- NEW blankets
- NEW sheets
- Portable stoves
- Butane canisters
If you’re unable to bring a donation of these items, you can also give financially at boldcitychurch.com/give and select the option “Hurricane Dorian” as your designation, by texting the word “Give” to 904-844-0996 and selecting the “Hurricane Dorian” option, or on the Bold City Church app.