Kiwanis Foundation of Canada sends help to the Bahamas

Vicki Hermansen | May 07, 2020


Hurricane Dorian battered The Bahamas with Category 5 forced winds and rain last September, leaving 17% of Bahamians on the islands of Grand Bahamas and Abaco homeless. For three days, the deadly storm — the worst there since 1931 — brought winds of 180 miles per hour with surging water.     

When it was over, it took another three days to gain access to the islands because of damage to airports and seaports. Family members waited anxiously for news of their loved ones — many of whom died, and others who remain missing months later.  

When Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas last year, the Kiwanis Foundation of Canada stepped in to helpHelp came almost instantly from the Kiwanis Foundation of Canada. The foundation asked Canadian clubs for donations, pledging to match every CA$2 with CA$1. Money poured in from throughout Canada and the entire Eastern Caribbean and Canada District. By October, relief funds were providing help and hope to survivors and much-needed assistance to communities. In addition to 35 Kiwanians and their families, beneficiaries included the Grand Bahamas Children’s Home and the Patrick A. Pinder School in Abaco.   

The Kiwanis Foundation of Canada also immediately assembled a team to lead the fundraising effort. Vice President Greg Holland and Secretary Chuck McIlravey were selected from the board, along with two Bahamian Kiwanians, Christine King and Sandra Butler, who provided on-the-ground support for fund distribution.   

Bank accounts were set up and the committee met weekly by telephone to respond to requests — moving quickly to give help without delay.  

This was the largest single disaster-relief initiative undertaken by the Canadian foundation. And it was completed in three months. By February, the foundation had committed:  

  • US$235,000 to the Bahamas Relief Fund, $158,000 of which was distributed to Kiwanians and Service Leadership Program members displaced from Grand Bahamas and Abaco.
  • US$30,000 to the Grand Bahamas Children’s Home. 
  • US$5,000 for school feeding programs on Abaco.    

Additional donors included:   

  • Eastern Canada Kiwanis Clubs.
  • Kiwanis District of New Jersey. 
  • Kiwanis District of Florida  
  • Kiwanis District of the Carolinas. 
  • Kiwanis District of California. 
  • Kiwanis District of Montana. 
  • Western Canada District.
  • PNW District.
  • Kiwanis clubs in Guadalupe and Barbados.
  • Kiwanis Children’s Fund.

The Kiwanis Foundation of Canada stepped in to help


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