By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
NO more volunteers are currently needed at the New Providence Community Church (NPCC), as Bahamians have adequately answered the call to lend a helping hand during the organisation’s Hurricane Dorian relief efforts which continued on Saturday.
“NPCC feels overwhelming amount of support and love for our Bahamian community and we are truly grateful,” a statement posted to the church’s Facebook page stated.
“We truly appreciate everyone that has given their time to volunteering this past week at the NPCC. At this time we have sufficient amount of volunteers needed to carry out our efforts and will update you when there are any changes.”
Volunteers trekked in and out of the busy centre on Saturday, pushing dollies stacked with essentials donated. Some people unboxed items, while others sorted through them, creating care packages.
Ferrice Kemp, a head volunteer from Grand Bahama who lost family members during the storm and is still waiting to hear word from other relatives on the island, said she has to help because people are hurting.
“In the eastern area of High Rock, Freetown and Mclean’s Town I have lost family members. It’s hurtful because the eastern area from what I have heard got hit really bad. It is heartbreaking,” Ms Kemp said holding back the tears.
“Even the primary school I attended while growing up, which at that time was Freetown Primary School - now the Eastern pre-school - is gone,” she said.
Ms Kemp said she is doing her best to be strong for her family. Knowing people out there need help is what keeps her going.
“Someone is out there who hasn’t been rescued as yet. Someone is out there who hasn’t been fed as yet. Someone is out there who doesn’t have any clothing. Someone is out there who doesn’t have a shelter over their head, and thinking of them really pushes me even though I am exhausted,” she said.
Saturday was the first day at the NPCC for Defence Force Marine Christopher Cash, who said he wanted to use the little down time he had to volunteer at the church centre.
“I have been here for about three hours just assisting wherever is needed and answering the call because the country needs it,” he said.
While his time at work has been very taxing in recent days, Mr Cash said he will continue to assist.
“The hardest part is just getting in there and finding some way to help. And once you begin doing so you find that there is a pleasure in helping people, especially at a time like this,” he said.
Though the NPCC currently has enough volunteers, Shanelle Johnson, who describes herself as a humanitarian, said there are many more efforts underway that people can assist with.
“I would encourage people who want to help to donate food and toiletries. They don’t have to donate everything to NPCC, they can donate to other organisations,” she told The Tribune.
Ms Johnson also shared this piece of advice for volunteers: “Be prepared to be have a listening ear. From what I have seen with the evacuees, their stories are intense. Prepare to hear the stories, sit and listen. Don’t try and solve the problem, just hold them, listen and say to them ‘I’m glad you are still here.’”
“Also, call the organisations first and see where the need is and then go and assist,” she said.