Here’s How You Can Help the Bahamas Right Now

In the wake of Hurricane Dorian’s damage in the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island, these organizations and charities are collecting items for immediate needs.

Elbow Cay
Elbow Cay in the Abaco Islands is an under-the-radar destination for people who love its beautiful, peaceful natural beaches.Shutterstock

When Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane on Sunday, it became the strongest storm on record to ever strike the islands. The ensuing heartbreaking devastation resulted in the deaths of at least 20 people and destruction of more than 10,000 homes, and the people of the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island have lost far too much to put into words.

The immediate response to this devastation has been swift and generous, as larger, travel-based companies are leading the way with relief offerings. Royal Caribbean is mobilizing its fleet to begin the delivery of water, meals, generators and other supplies, in addition to teaming with the Bahamian government and various charities, including the Bahamas Feeding Network, and donating $1 million to disaster relief. Norwegian Cruise Line and the Walt Disney Company have also pledged $1 million to relief efforts, and Carnival, in addition to giving $2 million, has teamed with the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency to ship supplies collected in South Florida.

Chef José Andrés went to Nassau ahead of the storm and began relief preparations with World Central Kitchen, which he founded in 2010 to provide meals following natural disasters. Learning from his efforts following Hurricane Maria, Andrés mapped out areas his teams could set up kitchens on the Abacos and Grand Bahama so that food could be delivered swiftly.

Atlantis Paradise Island, which is home to Fish by José Andrés, has also launched a fundraiser, in collaboration with the Red Cross, with the goal of raising $1 million for additional food and supplies. That effort raised more than $30,000 in the first 24 hours and has climbed to almost $75,000.

But there are so many more options for people looking to help, especially as Tropical Storm Gabrielle and three other disturbances grow and make their way across the Atlantic. Here is a list of non-profit organizations and charities currently working to collect goods and donations for the victims of Hurricane Dorian. (We will continue adding to this list as new information becomes available. Charity Navigator also keeps a running list of various charities working on Dorian relief.)

The Red Cross

Donations can be made to the Red Cross for preparations and response to disaster relief on the organization's website or by texting DORIAN to 90999. Donations can also be made directly to the Bahamian Red Cross.

The Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Fund

Established by the Grand Bahama Port Authority in response to Dorian, this fund goes directly to the ongoing relief work, as the Deputy PM estimates it could cost "hundreds of millions, if not billions." The Coastal Community Foundation is assisting with collecting donations, while direct donations can be made here.

Operation Airdrop

Following the devastation of the Houston area by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, a team of pilots created Operation Airdrop with the goal of using personal aircraft to deliver supplies to areas that had become more difficult to reach because of flooding and damage. Now, Operation Airdrop has turned its attention to Dorian relief efforts, and is currently accepting donations and recruiting volunteers.

Similarly, as part of Caring for the Bahamas, the Upwind Flying Club is trying to raise $25,000 for flying goods and supplies to the affected islands.

Team Rubicon

This group, comprised of military veterans, has been tracking Dorian since late August and has relief plans in place for the areas still in danger of being hit by the slow-moving hurricane. As such, efforts are already underway in the Bahamas and Team Rubicon is accepting donations to keep things going.

All Hands and Hearts Smart Response

With teams currently focused on the Bahamas and the Southeast U.S. this experienced organization is accepting donations and asking for volunteers to help with preparation and supplies. Of note is how All Hands and Hearts spends 96 cents of every dollar donated on its response and recovery programs.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy

Through its 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Recovery Fund, the CDP pools donations to use the funds on recovery efforts and "support vulnerable populations whose lives and livelihoods have been devastated," long after the storms have passed. However, donors can specify if they'd like their money to go toward Dorian efforts.

Bethenny Frankel's bstrong

Reality television star Bethenny Frankel announced this week that her bstrong program is preparing for its first mission for "providing crucial supplies, immediate medical support, and helping to evacuate those who weren't able to leave their homes before the storm." This organization has previously delivered aid and distributed cash cards to victims of other disasters, and Frankel said they will soon ship a ton of supplies to the Abacos. Her program ensures that 100 percent of donations are used to help the victims.

Be Aware of Where Your Money Goes

In times of disaster, it is important for people to understand where their money and supplies are going to, as there are unfortunately many scammers out there looking to take advantage of generosity. As such, the FTC offers this basic advice on searching for charities, as well as this specific information on how to identify scammers.