Six months ago, Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. And six months ago, we asked you to join us in our quest to pay it forward. As you may recall, we launched a raffle on Sept. 6, 2019, the two year anniversary of Hurricane Irma. We love holding raffles and have done so periodically over the years. But this raffle was different. For the first time, we didn’t intend to support organizations here on St. John. Instead we wanted to pay it forward by helping Abaco residents recover from this life-changing event.
Your response was overwhelming. Because of all of you, we were able to donate $200,000 to All Hands and Hearts, a disaster relief organization that was instrumental in our hurricane recovery here on St. John. We asked the organization to use the money specifically for its work in the Bahamas. They have and continue to do so. Today we’d like to update you all on where your money has gone.
Bruce Linton, the Chief Development Office for All Hands and Hearts, sent us some information on their work in the Abaco Islands. As of February, All Hands and Hearts has worked at 84 sites, including 8 schools and 63 homes. They’ve completed 114 jobs which has benefited 2,053 people.
Bruce told me that All Hands is based in Marsh Harbor at Every Child Counts (ECC) school. As of today, numerous schools remain closed. Thanks to All Hands’ work, Central Primary Abaco School – the largest school in Abaco – will reopen in April. This will allow many families to return home to Abaco, another huge step in their recovery. Bruce said the teams are concentrating on repairing schools and teachers’ homes in an effort to reopen every school by September.
Our donation’s impact is far reaching, Bruce said. “We truly could not be doing this work without your support.”
Now if that doesn’t put a smile on your face today, I’m not sure what will.
All Hands and Hearts publishes a monthly update which includes its partners in the Bahamas. And guess who is included alongside some pretty big names like Disney, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Margaritaville? We are! That’s right, News of St. John is listed right beside these major international brands. And do you know why? Well quite simply, it’s because of all of you!
This goes to show that each and every one of us has the ability to make a difference. And when we band together, we can honestly change people’s lives for the better. We need more of that in this world, don’t ya think?
So I say we do it again. You know me, I always love a good raffle. Stay tuned folks… 😉
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