Tampa Bay volunteers provide hope in Bahamas


NASSAU, Bahamas (WFLA) – Hurricane Dorian slammed into the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas on Sept. 1. When it hit the outer islands as a Category 5 storm, it was one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded.

The storm slowed to a crawl as it made landfall, making the impact even greater.

Hope Town on Elbow Cay is a community with a long and rich history. Colorful Colonial-style homes are a signature feature of the island.

Dorian devastated many of the homes. The storm sent boats from the harbor far on shore and ripped apart buildings as island residents sheltered for cover.

Weeks after the storm, debris litters the streets, power lines have been torn down and the only electricity on the island comes from generators.

Jenn Walker is a volunteer from Lakeland working with a group called “Operation 300” in Hope Town helping to clean up.

“We’ve been cleaning up churches, peoples homes, distributing food, clothes to families, working with kids, getting them bikes,” said Walker.

In the hot Bahamian sun, Walker and others with her volunteer group are working up a heavy sweat, knowing they are helping people they don’t even know.

“People’s lives have been completely uprooted. Homes, communities have been flattened, but I will say this, despite it all, they all have a smile on their face and they all say we survived, it’s a new day and we are going to be stronger,” said Walker.

Coming up Thursday at 6 p.m. on News Channel 8, we’ll hear from lifelong Bahamian residents about how important the volunteers from Florida are to their recovery efforts.

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