BELLBROOK, Ohio (WDTN) – A non-profit organization based in Bellbrook is raising money to help survivors of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.
The nonprofit 18th Parallel Relief is planning to distribute supplies to Bahamians affected by Hurricane Dorian and assist with cleanup efforts.
“It touches me personally because I know Puerto Rico and all of my family went through something similar,” said Darybel Ortiz, who founded 18th Parallel Relief in November 2017 with her husband Rey Febo.
Ortiz told 2 NEWS she and her husband are from Puerto Rico originally, and they first got involved with storm relief efforts after hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the island.
Soon after, they teamed up with other community members in the Miami Valley to help. They collected more than 145,000 pounds of supplies from the Dayton area for survivors in Puerto Rico, Ortiz said.
“A lot of organizations donated to Puerto Rico,” she said. “If we can do a little piece to return what they did for us, that would be great.”
Earlier this year, the group helped with local tornado cleanup, Ortiz said. Now, they’re planning to go to the Bahamas to help with Hurricane Dorian relief efforts.
The organization is raising money to buy supplies for survivors closer to the devastated area, Ortiz said, since it would likely not be feasible for the group to transport supplies from Ohio to the Bahamas.
“It’s amazing to take all these things with us, but it’s a lot more difficult that way,” said Franchesca Howe-Vachon, who volunteers with 18th Parallel Relief.
Howe-Vachon and her husband Kyle told 2 NEWS they spent several weeks volunteering in Puerto Rico nearly two years ago. They’re now hoping to go to the Bahamas to make a similar impact.
“[We’ll] wait for the call from Darybel and Rey on how can we help, where can we meet, at a distribution center or anything we can do to be hands-on or anything that we can help with,” Kyle Howe-Vachon said.
18th Parallel Relief is waiting to see how soon its volunteers can get to the Bahamas to distribute supplies and help with cleanup efforts, Ortiz said. The volunteers are funding their travel themselves, so all donations collected will benefit the survivors, she added.
If you would like to donate to help 18th Parallel Relief purchase food, water and supplies, click here.Grab the FREE WDTN News App from the Apple Store or Google play. Stay up to date with all the local news, weather and sports as well as live newscasts and events as they happen.