Over the past few weeks the Avanti Boosters social and service club has begun to bring attention to Hurricane Dorian’s effects on the Bahamas. The hurricane was the strongest to hit the islands, leaving more than 2,000 people needing lifesaving assistance, 1,000 people missing and 53 people dead.
Earlier in the month, the club promoted a fundraiser cookout hosted by the CRC in hopes of bringing attention to these catastrophic effects. The club also offered donation trays at last month’s Encore event.
Boosters president Ryan Stuthers spoke on the matter saying, “To raise money for the Hurricane Dorian relief in the Bahamas, we mentioned the Bahamian Cookout on the following day and gave the opportunity for those who attended Encore to give donations on their way out of the auditorium after the show.”
Stuthers went on to explain why his club is putting on this event.
“One of the Avanti Boosters Club pillars is service, and is therefore a core value of the club,” he said. “Just as we always try to do when a need becomes apparent, we saw the very real need for help in the Bahamas, and so we served in the way that we knew how. One part of the message of Avanti Boosters Club is that in order to be whole and good, you must serve your neighbors, and that is what we did.”
Out of the 700 islands that make up the Bahamas, the most effected by Dorian were the Abaco Islands. Nearly 90% of the islands’ overall housing and infrastructure was damaged during the violent storms that thrashed the islands.
Reports have stated that anywhere between 76 % amd 100% of buildings are down in different areas of the island. Almost half of its electricity has been knocked out, as well.
According to NASA, Hurricane Dorian dropped more than 36 inches of rain on the Bahamas. Entire coastlines became flooded, buildings and shacks were swept away and roads were demolished. The Bahamas were struck for more than 40 hours by what was later categorized as the second strongest Atlantic hurricane in modern meteorological history.
The events were devastating, leaving an estimated 70,000 Bahamians homeless. Even in what’s left, simple commodities such as running water have become hard to come by in the area.
Relief efforts have run far and wide for the Bahamas. Several celebrities and athletes have either run campaigns or announced their support of relief efforts on social media.
For instance, television personality Shep Rose raised more than $25,000 in support of Hurricane Dorian relief by selling limited edition Bahama-inspired hats. Singer Jason Derulo also partnered with actor Sean Penn’s CORE Foundation to clear debris from the storm.
AU has a handful of students from the Bahamas too. So while the devastation may have occurred more than 1,100 miles away, it’s still a very personal problem for students and teachers. This is something Stuthers was very aware of when steering his club towards the decision to aid the ongoing effort.
“The opportunity really presented itself to us,” said Stuthers. “Avanti Boosters always picks something to donate to for every Encore, and when determining where we wanted the money to go this time, our treasurer Elijah Neal came up with the idea of supporting our peers and their families by helping with the Hurricane Dorian relief, as the Bahamian lunch event had planned to do.
Stuthers said that Boosters tries to look close to home first when deciding who to serve.
“When looking to serve others, we often seek opportunities within our ‘neighborhood.’ We look for those who need us that are closer than we might initially think, and try and begin by serving those who are in our circle first, such as our peers from the Bahamas who have been affected by the hurricane,” Stuthers said.