April 14, 2022 – Freeport, Grand Bahama: -The Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation (GBDRF), a charitable organization founded by the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), and funded entirely by private donations, is launching a new home repair initiative. The program, which begins Easter Monday, April 18, 2022, will assist those in our communities who are still recovering from the long-term impacts of Hurricane Dorian.
The GBDRF and SBP are donating $450,000 to the new home repair program, which will employ local licensed contractors to restore fifty homes throughout the island. The program will be targeting the elderly, the disabled, and single mothers with children. Said Ian Rolle, GBDRF Director, “Our hearts go out to our fellow residents of Grand Bahama who are still challenged by the after-effects of the storm, as well as coping with the legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy.” He continued, “SBP has really shown what it means to be our brother’s keeper. We are grateful for their partnership to provide relief efforts not only to homes in Freeport, but also in the Eastern and Western ends of Grand Bahama.”
Formed in 2019, the GBDRF has provided more than $2.6 million on local aid, and partnerships with NGOs and volunteers. GBDRF Home Pilot Program, in partnership with SBP, renovated homes on West Pioneers Way, Clark Avenue, Explorers Way, Rum Cay Place, and Hyde Park Drive areas at a cost of $622,000. GBDRF also supported the local Rotary Muck and Gut Program donating $100,000 towards materials for interior walls and roof repairs, and labor costs for forty-one homes in East Coral Estates (Pioneers Loop).
The GBDRF Home Repair Program sourced furniture and appliances from a resort in Orlando valued at $2.5 million and funded all shipping and clearing costs amounting to $857,000. Some 300 families were supplied with stoves, refrigerators, washers, dryers, living and bedroom sets, entertainment centers, televisions, patio furniture and more. GBDRF also donated $15,000 to the Rich Halpern Home Repair Program, $3,000 to the Pastor Eddie Victor Home Repair Program, $155,000 to SBP’s Mold Remediation Program, and $15,000 to the Queens Cove Clean Up Project.
After the first lockdown, the GBDRF Feeding Program provided 800 food boxes at a cost of $70,000, and was pleased to support their distribution with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Urban Renewal, Social Services, the Aids Foundation, the Council for the Disabled, and all the senior care homes in Grand Bahama. GBDRF further partnered with Reach Out Youth Ministries giving $1,000 per week to support their ongoing feeding program, which provided baby food and diapers to 500 mothers and children, 700 grocery bags, and food distribution to 1,500 people. The foundation donated $25,000 to the Government’s Feeding Program, $10,000 to Meals on Wheels, and distributed food and hygiene kits to 120 churches led by Pastor Eddie Victor. Additionally, $84,000 was spent to employ several individuals to work in distribution, clean up and home repair initiatives.
Describing the new home repair initiative, Andy Stofleth, SBP Executive Director – Caribbean said, “This is part of our long-term recovery effort. We’ve been here two and a half years and we’re still rebuilding. 400 families have been welcomed back into their homes through the efforts of SBP, GBDRF, GBPA and other organizations that have bonded since Dorian. Our mission is to provide fast, efficient building services to those who are vulnerable in our community, to help them get back on their feet.”
“We are thankful to SBP for their continued partnership, and the tremendous work they have done in our communities.” said Sarah St. George, GBDRF Chairman. “Those who are still in need are very much in our thoughts. We will continue to find ways to help.” Karla McIntosh, GBDRF Executive Director reiterated, “We want to be able to help the residents of Grand Bahama in any form that we can. I also wish to use this opportunity as a plea to Corporate Grand Bahama, and individuals to donate to the foundation, so that we can continue to be a blessing to others.”
For those who wish to donate, please visit our website at https://gbdisasterrelief.org/donations/.