Bahamians in Mass. Hope to Help After Hurricane Dorian

As thousands remain unaccounted for across the Bahamas, relief efforts are underway and those in Massachusetts with ties to the islands are doing what they can to help.

Vance Johnson, a Bahamian native, is just south of the destruction in Acklins Island. He moved to Massachusetts a few years ago, but flew back to the Bahamas before Hurricane Dorian in case he had to help his family.

Fortunately, the island where they live was spared, but Johnson is not going anywhere. Instead of coming back to where he lives in Burlington, he's using his time in the Bahamas to help those in the areas that were hit hardest. He is even offering the property he owns as a place for people to stay.

"For the first time last night, I cried. I really did, because it's my people," Johnson said. "I have to be here for my people. I have to do it. It's a must. We are a strong group."

Jenevy Dames-Coppe of Cotuit feels the same way. She grew up in the Bahamas and still has plenty of family there, including her niece, whose home was destroyed by the hurricane.

Fortunately, her mother, who lives in the Exumas, was visiting her on Cape Cod when Dorian hit. Her home is still standing, but she is eager to help her fellow Bahamians.

"You turn the TV off and turn it back on hoping you'd find some relief, but there was none," Mary Dames said.

She and her daughter decided the best thing they could do to help was put out a shopping list through the Oasis Bahamas website. Their hope is that people will purchase the items that will then be delivered for relief. Having lived through a Category 5 in the Bahamas in the past, they know how badly those affected will need it.

"We're going to need a lot of help. That's the main thing," Dames-Coppe said. "We can't do it alone."

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