LYMAN — A local couple with family connections to the Bahamas are collecting items at the Goodwins Mills Fire Station for survivors of Hurricane Dorian.
The Red Cross reports about 45 percent of the homes on Grand Bahama and Abaco are believed to have been destroyed or badly damaged when the hurricane stalled over the islands.
For those who can’t make it to the fire station in Lyman, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland said Thursday that it will hold a special collection at all of the state’s Catholic churches on Sept. 14-15 for victims of the hurricane and other natural disasters that might occur this year.
The diocese said those wishing to offer assistance before Sept. 14-15 can make a donation to Catholic Relief Services, which is working with local partners to assess immediate needs in the Bahamas and organize food, emergency shelter and safe water for affected families.
For Lyman firefighter Tyler Richardson and his wife, Abby, watching the devastation of Hurricane Dorian unfold on television and online sources was “anxiety inducing,” she said.
Abby Richardson is originally from the Bahamas and has relatives and friends in places that were most affected by the storm.
She has an aunt who she hasn’t heard from directly since Saturday, but she’s heard word that she’s alive. Other family members include a cousin who worked at a resort who is now homeless.
“He has no belongings, pretty much just the clothes on his back,” Abby Richardson said.
With electricity out and cellphone towers down, people have had to rely on satellite phones for communication. The Richardsons said they’ve been following several Facebook pages relaying information, including people’s whereabouts.
“We’ve just been refreshing Facebook over and over,” Tyler Richardson said.
The couple wanted to do something to help hurricane survivors, and they’ve started a collection drive for hurricane relief supplies.
“We just kind of felt helpless up here, not being there, and this is the only way we could think of to do something,” Tyler Richardson said.
Items can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. At the Goodwins Mills Fire Station, 481 Goodwins Mills Road in Lyman.
Items needed include laundry detergent, hand sanitizer, paper towels and other cleaning supplies; shampoo, soap, sunscreen and other hygiene supplies; diapers, wipes and baby food; and other baby supplies.
Other items needed include small generators, flashlights, batteries, blankets, tents and sleeping bags.
Items will continue to be collected for the next three to four weeks.
“They’re going to need help for a very long time,” Abby Richardson said.
Arrangements will be made to ship the items to a Florida drop-off point for Headknowles, a nonprofit relief organization that is assisting people in the Bahamas.
Monetary donations can be made by sending a check payable to Dorian Hurricane Relief c/o Camden National Bank, PO Box 1130, Kennebunk, ME 04043.
To make a donation to Catholic Relief Services, go to: support.crs.org/donate/hurricane-dorian or call 877-435-7277.
Liz Gotthelf — 207-780-9015