Adventist Church continues relief efforts among devastation in Grand Bahama

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Adventist Church continues relief efforts among devastation in Grand Bahama

Church leaders and members serve hot meals in trays on Sep. 15, 2019, to hand out to hundreds of people in Freeport, Grand Bahama, still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. The church has been distributing 600 hot meals twice a day since flood waters receded on Sep. 5. There are still many communities that still do not have electricity or running water on the island. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

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Hurricane Dorian took the lives of seven of Shirley Smith’s family.  She struggles to articulate her grief, to express what she’s feeling. Smith is one of many in Grand Bahama who lost loved ones, lost everything in her home and is still dealing with debris, no electricity and no running water.

Smith makes her way to the Freeport Adventist Church in Freeport, Grand Bahama, to seek a hot meal for herself and family members.

“Everyone has been affected and was touched by this storm in one way or another,” said Arleen Sands, women’s ministries director for the church in the North Bahamas Conference, headquartered in Freeport. “It’s heart breaking, it’s all painful,” said Sands.

Hot meals every day

Grand Bahama had never seen a category 5 hurricane, much less one that parked itself over the northern Bahama islands for three days, bringing storm surge as high as 12 feet.

Sands’ home was affected but she’s been cooking along with eight others who volunteer to provide meals to 400 to 600 people for lunch and supper since the waters receded on Sep. 5. “We are keeping busy helping those in need,” said Sands.

She gets up at 6 a.m. to begin cooking on her gas stove for the 1-3pm meal distribution, goes to the grocery store for super shopping and begins to cook supper to distribute at 6pm. By the time 11 pm comes, she is done and the next day begins all over again for her and her team of volunteers.

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