Florida Company Forms a Flotilla of Aid to the Bahamas
Find out how you can be part of the hurricane relief effort no matter where you live.
The owner and staff at Anything Marine Services in Riveria Beach Florida are all about boats, and they zip over to the Bahamas all the time for fishing, rest and relaxation. The people there have become friends over the years. So it was only natural that they'd be the first to jump on board to get relief to the victims of Hurricane Dorian.
"We actually do this during every hurricane," explained office manager Keri Schoen, who says the company has done relief drives for at least six hurricanes. "The owner has always wanted to help everybody. He's very generous."
Loading generators and other supplies at the dock in Florida.
Anything Marine started collecting relief items at their offices before Dorian even moved past the Bahamas. They partnered with nearby Sailfish Marina to use their docks to load four boats on Thursday for their first run to Freeport and West End in the Bahamas:
Now that first trip is back -- "Glad to see all our friends in Freeport are ok!" they wrote on their Facebook page -- and another group of boats is headed out today. Another will go Saturday and the plan is to continue, targeting locations once they have a better handle on where help is most needed.
The first shipments arrived in Freeport late Thursday.
The donated items run the gamut, from water and non-perishable food, to building materials, tarps and tents, generators, gasoline, flashlights and batteries -- even medical supplies. The supplies will be distributed by three churches that Anything Marine's owner already has relationships with, as a way to make sure the items are not black marketed and get to those who really need them.
Donations are pouring in for what could be daily trips.
Keri has visited the Bahamas herself more than a dozen times just this year. "You start getting to know the people over there, they become like family. It's personal." The Jupiter area was originally supposed to be in the eye of the storm. "I can't imagne being in the middle of it. I know if it was us, we'd want that help," she said, explaining why they're so passionate about the relief project.
"Seeing the people lose everything, it's heartbreaking."
If you're in the Riviera Beach/Jupiter area, you can drop off donations At Anything Marine Services ( check their Facebook page for hours and the address ). This time they've set up a GoFundMe page (click here) so you can help wherever you are . The GoFundMe donations will also help to pay for the fuel to power the boats to the Bahamas and back.
(Images and video: Anything Marine Services Facebook page )