TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa-based yacht chef who used to star on a Bravo TV series is working to help bring relief to people in the Bahamas who have been impacted by the devastating Hurricane Dorian.
Dorian is finally starting to move away from the Bahamas after staying parked over Grand Bahama Island for a day. But the threat of dangerous winds and life-threatening storm surge still continues, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Hurricane Dorian made landfall on Elbow Cay Sunday as one of the most intense hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin. The day before landfall, Adrienne Gang took off from Fort Lauderdale in a 150-foot charter boat.
“We had a charter, so we had to come down here to begin with but we’re going to be keeping track of what damage has been done and try to bring as much relief as we can to the areas we’re headed,” Gang explained. “And we’re coordinating back with people in the U.S. to get supplies over to the Bahamas.”
Gang, who was chief stew on season one of the Bravo series “Below Deck,” is now a yacht chef who is based in Tampa when she’s not working. After leaving from Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, her ship went down to Cuba and then made its way back up to the Bahamas.
She and the rest of her crew are now in Georgetown in the Exumas, about 200 miles away from where the damage is currently happening.
“We’re going to start working our way up the Exuma chain here shortly in the next couple of days and see what damage has occurred on our way toward Nassau,” Gang told WFLA.
Most of the supplies are being funneled through Fort Lauderdale and to Nassau at this point.
“Right now, it’s not safe to take ships like this directly to (the impacted) areas because there’s no place for us to go,” she said. “So they’re asking private yachts to bring as much as they can to Nassau first and then let the rescue boats take everything because they’re better equipped for the environment there right now.”
Gang tells us she’s proud of the members of the yachting community who are working hard to bring help.
“A lot of the ‘yachtie’ community right now is working on getting all that coordinated and I’m really excited about the work they’re doing,” she said. “You want to organize something, you hire a ‘yachtie’ or you call us. There’s a lot of amazing people in my industry who are really doing as much as they can to get the word out.”
Gang has been posting on her Twitter account some of the supplies they’re looking for. She says they’ve been going off lists put together by the Coast Guard and other relief organizations.
“This is the first response. This is the first wave of supplies that are going to be going in,” she said. “So it’s more like construction supplies and basic nonperishables – things that people are going to be able to use immediately. And after that, things like clothing and toys and donations will come after that. So first, I think the priority is sheltering and feeding people right now. And getting construction done so people can stay down there and survive.”
Gang is also helping coordinate supply drives here in Tampa. She says the following locations are accepting donations right now:
- EPIC Services
- 4002 West State Street in Tampa
- Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Current Chiropractic
- 3432 Lithia Pinecrest Road in Valrico
- Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Friday: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Danks Family Chiropractic
- 11305 Countryway Boulevard in Tampa
- Monday – Thursday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Friday: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
“We’re just trying to get as many people together as we can,” Gang said. “A lot of people have jumped out of the woodwork to try to offer help for the basic needs right now, which is really awesome. And I have a couple of Army and Air Force veterans – one of which is a Katrina survivor. So this is very important to him and he feels very strongly about helping.”
She also shared a link to a GoFundMe on Twitter, saying, “every little bit helps.”
“I’m really proud of everyone for stepping up. Even though I’m not there to help haul pallets of water onto boats, I’m excited that all this is happening,” she said. “It’s pretty awesome.”
As relief efforts begin in the Bahamas, people are also starting to look for their loved ones who were there as Dorian rolled through.
Gang is looking for her friend Cynthia Cusack, who has not been heard from since 3 p.m. Sunday. She says Cusack was last seen in Treasure Cay, a parcel of land connected to Great Abaco Island.
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