Manatee Bay Elementary Students Collect Donations for Hurricane Dorian Victims

Hurricane Dorian had barely moved offshore of the Bahamas before Manatee Bay Elementary School started organizing a donation drive to help residents in storm ravaged Abaco and Freeport. Through the generosity of families, teachers and staff, the school was able to send much-needed relief supplies to the battered islands.

“Our school theme this year is kindness,” states fifth grade teacher and Student Council Advisor Annejeanette Washington Collins. “Since this storm affected a nearby country that so many of our students know about, Manatee Bay wanted to show the Bahamas that we care about them and we will support them with actions not words.”

The project was spearheaded by Mrs. Washington Collins, who is of Bahamian descent; her maternal family is from Abaco, Freeport and Nassau. “When I saw how Hurricane Dorian devastated the islands, I could not sit back and do nothing,” she explains, noting the school also has several students whose families are from the Bahamas. 

Mrs. Washington Collins says the outpouring of support by students, families and staff was overwhelming. Manatee Bay collected more than 1,000 donations of water, diapers, canned food, batteries, lights and much more. Student Council members helped sort and pack the donations. In addition, the Labarbera, Tolbert and Turnquest families helped with transporting and delivering the donations to the Bahamas. The school worked with Feet to Faith Community Outreach and the Office of Emergency Management in Miami to coordinate efforts and ensure that the supplies were delivered to Bahamian citizens in need. 

In addition to the school-wide donation drive, students in Lisa Weingartner’s fifth grade class donated stuffed animals to help comfort young hurricane victims. These were delivered, along with medical supplies, by Dr. Quan Le, who has a daughter in the class. 

For Manatee Bay students, the Bahamas hurricane relief effort was a wonderful first lesson in a year-long commitment to kindness.