If you look up the expression “mixed emotions” in the dictionary today, you might find my picture.
On the one hand, I’m hugely relieved that Dorian didn’t strike the U.S East Coast as a Category 5 and that so many communities were spared a direct hit.
On the other, I am heartsick about what has happened in the Bahamas. It hurts to see such a paradise destroyed and to think about how many people lost their lives, homes and possessions as a result of this devastating storm. And I am sad beyond words for how long and difficult the path to recovery will be.
I know many of you feel the same way, because over the past week, a lot of you have reached out to find out whether ALAN is helping.
Thanks to our wonderful network, the answer is a resounding yes.
Over the past two weeks, we’ve had a chance to work closely with numerous non-profit partners who are working diligently help survivors on the Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands.
Among other things, we’ve arranged for the transportation of shelf stable food from Atlanta to West Palm Beach, found storage space for cleaning and household goods that will be needed during the clean-up phase, and assisted with the transportation of medical supplies. We’ve also been on the search for donated warehousing in Nassau and near the Port of Palm Beach. (Can you help with this? If so, give us a shout.)
For the most part, this has consisted of leveraging our U.S. ground transportation and warehousing networks to help relief organizations fill in critical supply chain gaps. It’s also meant partnering closely with Airlink and LIFT Non-Profit Logistics, whose partners have focused on finding the necessary ocean and air capacity, while we and our partners have concentrated on helping supplies get to ports and airports or finding places to store items that will be used later.
Meanwhile, we haven’t forgotten about North Carolina. We’ve been in close touch with partners on the ground there and are happy to report that they’ve been able to manage most of their issues locally – which is great news and what resilience is all about.
But that’s only part of the story. Sometime in the next few days, many of our non-profit partners will complete their initial assessments and come to us with numerous more requests for assistance.
I don’t have all the specifics yet. However, I know that many of these needs will involve getting goods to the South Florida area or providing warehousing and equipment there, because that’s where the bulk relief efforts to the Bahamas are originating. I also know that the ALAN community will rise to the occasion.
Which brings me to the final emotion I’ve been experiencing quite a bit of this week: Hope.
Things are indeed heartbreaking in the Bahamas right now. But with folks like you in our corner, I know that recovery and resilience will happen. I know because I’ve seen it again and again. Thank you for fueling that optimism and for being one of the best parts of my job. My outlook wouldn’t be nearly as sunny without you.
PS The picture I've included is of the iconic red and white striped lighthouse in Hope Town, Abacos, Bahamas. My family and some friends were able to vacation there in 2012 at the home of ALAN board member Penelope Menzies. It truly is paradise, and the community is committed to rebuilding and helping their neighboring islands. We'll be there to help them, too.