Freeport, Grand Bahama – The Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation (GBDRF) continues its mission to support the residents of Grand Bahama in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. As the response phase has transitioned to recovery GBDRF’s focus has shifted from meeting the immediate needs of residents with relief to helping improve their quality of life and restoring a sense of normalcy. This week, the GBDRF helped facilitate the delivery of street bikes to The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute, the University of The Bahamas Northern Campus, and the Bahamas Defence Force Ranger Programs.  

“The bikes, which were donated to GBDRF via the University of Miami, arrived in Grand Bahama via Carnival Cruise lines,” explained GBDRF Logistics Manager, Noel Clarke. “We thought these would be great for young college students and those not able to purchase or replace destroyed vehicles.” 

A total of 50 bikes were donated and shared between the institutions. BTVI received twenty, the Bahamas Defence Force Ranger Program received ten and the UOB Northern Campus received ten. The remaining bikes will remain in the care of the GB Disaster Relief Fund warehouse for the use of volunteers who continue to provide much-needed assistance to local residents.  

Having previously been used as ‘rideshare’ transports at UOM, the bikes which came fully equipped with functional lights, working bells and baskets will be used to launch a similar ‘Bike Share’ program for their students. Each student will be required to sign in and sign out to use the bikes when they require them. “We are so excited about this,” says Kendal Davis, Building supervisor of BTVI, who welcomed the donations for the school. “For our hard-working students, it’s a real relief that they won’t have to worry about how they’re getting to and from classes.”

Out-island student residents currently being housed at temporary dorms set up in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian will also benefit tremendously for the use of these new street bikes. “Our campus is still under reconstruction” explained Katurah Babb, M.S.c Development & Alumni Affairs University of the Bahamas-North, “and so to accommodate our out island students the Freeport Resort Club has graciously provided housing to the University. This bike donation couldn’t have a better time, because now we’re also able to assist them to commute to their classes which are temporarily being held at the Teachers’ Credit Union Plaza in downtown Freeport. “So many of our students lost vehicles after the storm and this will make transportation so much easier.” 

“We are thrilled to be able to pass these on to BTVI, UOB, and RBDF,” noted Cheri Woods, GBDRF Warehouse Manager, and volunteer. “Not only are the bikes environmentally friendly but they are so beneficial for students to get around.”

GBDRF continues to support the community through is distribution programs. “We have been inundated by generous donations of clothes, hair care items, canned foods, diapers, and tarps,” noted Woods.  “We are now working to distribute much of these items to local schools and churches so we can really concentrate on our home rebuild program.”