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bahamas paradise relief mission
Supplies were delivered to people on Grand Bahama Island PHOTO: Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line completes second relief mission

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Celebration arrived back at its home, the Port of Palm Beach, at 9 Wednesday morning, completing its second round-trip humanitarian sailing since Hurricane Dorian.

The cruise line teamed up with South Florida nonprofits the Bahamas Relief Cruise and Mission Resolve to mobilize the ship for a second time, spending nearly two full days distributing humanitarian aid to Grand Bahama Island.

400 pallets of humanitarian aid

Grand Celebration departed Palm Beach on Sunday with 400 pallets of humanitarian aid, three times the amount of the first sailing seven days prior. Items included 30,000 pounds of water, 275,000 pounds of canned and dry food, 150,000 pounds of household supplies and 50,000 pounds of construction materials.

The ship also carried more than 300 qualified volunteers.

Grand Celebration also carried home 150 Bahamians to help jumpstart the process of rebuilding Grand Bahama Island.

First responders, medical professionals, aid groups

First responders who sailed were joined by numerous business and philanthropic organizations from across South Florida. These included Bahamas Relief Cruise (comprised of members of The Everglades Trust team, along with a collection of West Palm Beach businesses and organizations including Subculture Group, Titou Hospitality Group and the Downtown West Palm Beach Hospitality Association) and Mission Resolve (joined by its partners in the South Florida business community, including Entrepreneurs’ Organization and others).

Also on board were representatives from various disaster relief response groups, including Sheep Dog Impact Assistance, West Palm Beach Fire Rescue Department and Big Dog Ranch Rescue and Hope Force International. Plus, there were more than 50 medical professionals organized by the Bahamas Relief Cruise team.

Upon arrival at Freeport, the ship’s crew and volunteers prepared more than 10,000 boxed lunches, which were delivered directly to local shelters, homes and neighborhoods by volunteers.

Plus 13 pallets of building materials

Bahamas Relief Cruise brought a separate cargo ship filled with 13 pallets of materials to reconstruct the island’s local children’s home, a church and animal shelter, as well as several individual homes. The group also organized a community gathering two consecutive nights at Independence Park, focused on providing a break to thousands of people from Grand Bahama Island, with freshly prepared meals, movies for kids, a DJ and other activities.

Thirty cases of water were delivered to Pastor Robert White on the north side of the island, a direct request from Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line CEO Oneil Khosa, who learned of the neighborhood’s plight through a family that evacuated during the first humanitarian sailing.

Ten pallets of water and 10 generators were delivered to Rand Memorial Hospital.

Bahamians who boarded Grand Celebration in Freeport were required to pay $49 per person and provide proof of an address in the United States where they planned to stay. Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is donating 100% of cruise fares back to the Bahamas relief effort.

200 Bahamians sail to the US

Just over 200 Bahamians traveled back to Palm Beach on Grand Celebration with the necessary documentation required to enter the US, and the majority were met by friends and family.

‘We are grateful to our partners, Bahamas Relief Cruise and Mission Resolve, as well as the hundreds of volunteers who came with us on Grand Celebration to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to Grand Bahama Island,’ Khosa said. ‘Our second sailing was a tremendous success, and we are proud to play such a vital role in the recovery of the island, but we can’t do it alone. We invite other industry leaders and local groups to step up and lend a hand to our sisters and brothers in the Bahamas as they embark upon a challenging journey to recovery.’

South Florida residents who wish to drop off supplies to help the residents of Grand Bahama Island can still deliver them to the cruise line’s Riviera Beach warehouse at 301 Broadway Ave., Bay #7, in Riviera Beach. Supplies will be delivered at a later date.