TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Floridians have rallied behind the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, but getting donations to the islands has become a logistical challenge for many.
Joe Nuzzo is the longtime owner of Treasure Island’s Suncoast Surf Shop. He was determined to send relief to the Bahamas’ Green Turtle Cay, a place he considers a second home. He teamed up with his buddy Jeff Walton to raise money to buy 18 generators plus other needed supplies.
Despite raising the money quickly, Nuzzo says it took about a week for him to secure transportation for their donations.
“We had no way, we couldn’t figure out how to get everything to Green Turtle,” Nuzzo said.
The 18 generators, serviced and fueled, were too heavy for a small aircraft. Nuzzo initially had a boat lined up, but that boat broke down.
Then their backup boat backed out, a problem Nuzzo says others trying to raise relief supplies are running into.
“You hustle hustle hustle, and then find out the boat you thought you had, you don’t have,” Walton explained. “So then you’re back to square one as far as transportation, and that’s not easy.”
Neither gave up, making call after call after call. Finally, late Monday, Nuzzo got the callback he was waiting for: a family friend with a boat on Florida’s east coast, willing to take the supplies directly to Green Turtle Cay.
Walton says he’ll be loading up a U-Haul Wednesday and driving the generators to Stuart, Florida.
The large storage container for donations outside Suncoast Surf Shop will remain for at least the next month, Nuzzo says, and they intend to make more trips with supplies for the Bahamas.