It’s impossible for me to wrap my mind around the devastation in the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian. The worst I’ve ever been through in terms of hurricanes was Hurricane Isabelle in 2003. By the time it reached the Washington DC area, it was downgraded to a tropical storm, but I still remember what, to me, was a terrifying night listening to the rain and wind pounding my house. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to go through 24+ hours of a category 5 storm.
Humane Society of Grand Bahama
I have been following the Humane Society of Grand Bahama updates on their Facebook page during and since the storm, and the stories are absolutely gut-wrenching. Built on a 10 foot rise above the ocean, the shelter seemed like an unlikely place for flooding. Then the 20 foot storm surge hit. At one point, the shelter workers that stayed to care for the animals were up to their necks in water. They had to climb to a crawl space in the ceiling for about two hours, before they were able to swim to safety when the water receded. 156 dogs and cats survived, but tragically, 113 died. The Miami Herald featured a detailed account of what the shelter workers who stayed with the animals went through, and the daunting task the shelter is facing to recover from this tragedy.
You can help support their recovery efforts by donating through their website.
Good Karma Pet Rescue of South Florida
Good Karma Pet Rescue of South Florida set up a fundraiser on Facebook to help their Bahamian neighbors. They’re asking for money, but also for food and supplies. For more information, visit their fundraiser page on Facebook.
Follow your heart and your head when donating
Many other worthy organizations from all over the country have mobilized to help the animals affected by the storm. Most organizations will probably need money rather than goods. With floods blocking off many roads, as the logistics of storing donations may overwhelm organizations whose volunteers are already stretched to the limit. Also, keep in mind that there is going to be a long term need for donations for months and possibly even years, so take that into consideration when planning your donations.
Follow your heart when it comes to deciding what type of organization you want to donate to, but then use your head and check out the charity before you donate. Is the charity recommended by a trusted source? You can also use websites like Charity Navigator or GuideStar to check out the track record of charities, but be aware that many small animal rescue organizations will not be listed on these directories. That doesn’t make them a bad donation choice, you’ll just have to do a little more homework.
I prefer to donate directly to smaller, local organizations rather than large national ones, so I can be sure that my donations are used for the intended purpose.