A group of 70 pilots expressed interest in donating their time, expertise, and even their planes to Sol Relief, a group dedicated to disaster relief in the United States and Caribbean, to help get supplies to where they need to be. They will take flight from Albert Whitted Airport in St. Pete, Florida, with the most essential supplies onboard, to be distributed throughout the Bahamas, according to Fox13 News.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 3, Sol Relief had already flown six flights in two days, dropping off manpower and essential items such as chainsaws and a reverse osmosis filtration system to Nassau because barrier islands like Grand Bahama and Great Abaco are still virtually inaccessible, 10News WTSP reported.
Mark Auchtung, who runs the organization said that the plan is to start delivering many of the donated items within the next few days, flying as many as six to eight trips per day.
“Immediate needs, chainsaws, and generators and stuff, so we can get an airport open, so we can get a runway open,” Auchtung said.
Auchtung also expects to see a lot of heartbreak in the coming weeks.
“You do this and you think you’re alone and then you see the people organizing the supplies. It’s heartbreaking, it’s nice,” he said.
Brenda Squires came to drop off a donation, but she volunteer to work when she saw the need. Volunteers like her prioritize the most essential supplies and get them ready for takeoff.
“I just wanted to do what I thought I would hope people would do for me,” Squires said. “I’ve been here all day helping, sorting, doing whatever anyone asks and it’s been really joyful. It gives me some hope—it’s not about guns, it’s not about politics, it’s not about religion or culture, it’s everybody coming in and helping.”
— Josh Sidorowicz WTSP (@JoshWTSP) September 3, 2019
The organization is still looking for items including generators, extension cords, work gloves, gas cans, bug spray, cleaning supplies, solar phone chargers, trash bags.
Supplies can be delivered to: St. Pete Air at 107 8th Ave. SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 during normal business hours. (Monday—Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Sol Relief asks only to bring items on its list of needs, which can be found on its website. Pilot applications and donation forms are available on the group’s website. A monetary donation can also be made on the website.
All of the donated proceeds go to the group’s mission of providing relief to hurricane victims.