Polk Co. law enforcement, businesses collecting donations to benefit Bahamas

Tracking the Tropics

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Law enforcement agencies and businesses across eastern Polk County are teaming up to collect donations for the people of the Bahamas as they recover from Hurricane Dorian.

It started when an officer from Haines City’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) unit reflected on his time spent in the Bahamas.

“The devastation is tough to even fathom. The guys in our COPS unit, they have a big heart. They’re always looking for ways to figure out how to make a difference and this is just sort of the latest idea,” said Public Information Officer Mike Ferguson.

Haines City police and others are collecting items to donate to Bahamians through the Miami-based charity The Smile Trust.

“We basically said – how can we help? They gave us a list of things that we can collect. We’ve been doing that here,” said Ferguson.

“I lost a house in a fire in 2012 and lost everything. It was important to me to be able to help someone because I know what it’s like to not have the things you need,” said Diana Mitchell of Haines City, who was one of the first people to donate.

Items being collected include toiletries, diapers, first aid items, cleaning supplies, canned goods, box fans, leather work gloves, hand sanitizer, non-perishable food, water, cleaning and baby wipes, tents and generators.

“This is just what we do. If we can help, we do as much as we can,” said David McClenney, owner of RW Transport Towing & Recovery, who donated a pallet of bottled water.

Donations will be collected through the month of September.

At Haines City Police Department, items will be accepted in the lobby during business hours, but there will be dropbox locations outside that will be open 24 hours.

There are also drop-off locations at Miracle Toyota, Davenport Police Department, Lake Hamilton Police Department, Weikert Ford Inc. and Holiday Inn Express Lake Wales N-Winter Haven.

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