1199SEIU Florida Members Donate $20,000 to Hurricane Relief OrganizationsJanuary 6, 2020
Months after Hurricane Dorian devasted the Bahamas, residents in hard hit areas are still struggling to recover. Many were touched by this tragedy including members of 1199SEIU Florida who have relatives and friends living in the Bahamas. But even those without direct ties still wanted to help the victims. So, members reached out to their coworkers to ask for donations and they were able to raise a significant amount of money.
The first of two donations were given to the Haitian American Nurses Association, or HANA of Florida. The organization was quick to answer the call for help from the residents impacted by the hurricane. According to news reports, more than 13,000 homes on Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands were destroyed or damaged.
“After seeing the photos and videos of the flooded homes and streets and the displaced residents, we felt compelled to help,” said Carline Gele, an 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East member and leader of the Caribbean Caucus. “Not only are there many Bahamians impacted by the hurricane but also Haitians. They are among the thousands of people in the Bahamas still trying to recover. We’re thankful organizations like HANA are offering relief and we’re glad to lend a helping hand.”
Members also gave a donation to another group that has helped with hurricane relief efforts. 1199SEIU staff and members presented a $10,000 check to an organization called The Smile Trust. Immediately after the storm, it collected numerous essential supplies and shipped them via three 50-foot containers to the Grand Bahamas. Volunteers also filled cargo planes with supplies which were sent to other ravaged areas of the island nation.
“This will help us with our next phase,” said Valencia Gunder, Executive Director of the The Smile Trust. “We’ll be working with 100 Bahamian students from Florida Memorial University to help them with tuition because their families can’t assist them. We’ll also do a service program with the students so they can help with recovery efforts in the Bahamas.”