Volusia County residents and businesses turn their attention to the devastation Hurricane Dorian left behind in the Bahamas as debris washes up on shoreline.
DAYTONA BEACH — Volusia County residents and businesses are turning their hearts and attention to the catastrophic devastation Hurricane Dorian left behind in the Bahamas now that the Florida coastline was spared.
News reports show bloated bodies remain untended and survivors are desperately in need of relief, six days after the deadly Category 5 hurricane hit the archipelago.
[READ MORE: Hurricane Dorian jet-ski rescues in Bahamas led by B-CU grad]
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Here in Volusia, evidence of Mother Nature's wrath has been making its way to our own shores.
"Debris has been rolling up on our beach," said New Smyrna Beach Mayor Russ Owen in a phone interview Thursday.
Meanwhile an evolving flood of charity groups is sharing information on social media.
"I'm scrolling through my news feed and every other post is help for the Bahamas and send help here and here, but no two have been alike and that worries me," said Owen. "A lot of people have reached out to me and wanted to help. But I've struggled … there's a lot of good intentions but bad executions."
So how can you be sure the supplies you give will make it to the Bahamas? Owen asked aloud.
On Thursday, Florida's Attorney General Ashley Moody issued a 'Consumer Alert' and listed ways well-intentioned people can protect themselves and Bahamians against fraudulent campaigns.
Tips from Moody's office include never giving out banking information to callers on the phone, backing away from high-pressure tactics and looking up the organization through CharityNavigator.org before making any kind of donation.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood on Friday said unsolicited calls should be avoided altogether.
"You need to make sure your donation is going where it needs to go," said Chitwood. "Tried and true is the way to go. You have to do your due diligence."
Chitwood said he feels more comfortable donating to large, experienced organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army, especially since learning of difficulties with organizing disaster aid for Moore, Oklahoma tornado victims in 2013. But Chitwood also advocates for several local efforts, including churches who have historically helped organize disaster relief efforts.
One of his deputies, Christy Bourke-Sturrup, is gathering up supplies to be delivered to family in the Bahamas and many other local businesses with ties to the Bahamas are attempting to help as well.
[RELATED: Here are some ways you can help the Bahamas]
On Thursday, Skydive DeLand announced in a social media post that once the runways are clear and they get approval from the government, the company plans on sending supplies to the island.
But that may take some time. The airport on the island was devastated by the storm.
A Spruce Creek Fly-In pilot did find a place to land. Paul Holmes returned Friday from a trip to Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay on Great Abaco Island. From the air, he could see the devastation.
He flew his twin-engine Piper to the Bahamas with about $1,000 worth of supplies he had purchased: chain saws, tool kits, shovels, batteries. On his return flight, he brought back three people.
"Everybody I talked to said as they walked to that airport, there were bodies all over the streets and not a house that's habitable, not a gas station, not a restaurant. There was zero going on there," he said.
One group, "Volusia for the Bahamas," had already transported a load of supplies Friday morning by yacht and is asking people to drop off more supplies Sunday at Airport Park in Port Orange for the next run. Local race car driver Casey Caudill will be packing items into his car trailer between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.
"Its work, but a little work never hurt anybody," said Councilman Scott Stiltner who, along with businessmen John Upchurch, Vince Snead, Caudill and Kevin Gill, plans to keep the boat drop offs going for at least 30 days — while the Bahamian government has waived taxes on incoming supplies during the relief effort.
Stiltner said the group, made up largely of Seabreeze High School graduates, have ties to businessmen on the island who have agreed to help distribute supplies.
"People helping people directly gets things done better and faster then when government starts getting involved," said Stiltner. "There is absolutely no one organization that can fix what's happened in the Bahamas. It's really sad. And we know thousands of people with good hearts who will be able to make a difference."
The group wants supplies, not monetary donations, Stiltner said, adding the group will make sure the supplies get to where they need to go. He said Friday he hoped for a hefty delivery of baby items — diapers, food and other caregiving necessities.
"We've gotta take care of the littlest Bahamians," said Stiltner.
How to help
Want to help donate? Here's one one organization collecting and delivering supplies:
WHO: "Volusia for the Bahamas"
WHEN: 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Airport Road Park, 6751 Airport Road in Port Orange
MORE INFO: Call 386-871-4663, or go to the group's Facebook page. After Sunday, the following locations can collect donations during business hours: Caton-Hosey Insurance, 3731 S. Nova Road, Port Orange, 386-767-3161; Odyssey Travel, 146 S. Atlantic Ave. Ormond Beach, 386-672-8113; Tuff Turf Landscaping, 415 Tomoka Farms Road, New Smyrna Beach, 386-760-4130; Coastal Tattoo, 5257 S. Ridgewood Ave., Port Orange, 386-281-3030; LaBosco’s Jewelry Castle, 4360 Ridgewood Ave., Port Orange.
WHAT TO GIVE: All items going into the Bahamas must be tracked and properly boxed, so items bought and already packaged by the case help speed things along. Organizers ask that an itemized list accompany donations. Here's what's needed:
Boxed milk such as Parmalat, and infant formula
Canned food goods
Boxed food goods of all varieties
Peanut butter and jelly
Baby food and related supplies
Sanitary goods such as tampons, sanitary pads, and infant diapers in all sizes
Band-aids and antiseptic type creams
Wipes, any brand for personal hygiene
Charcoal and lighter fluid
New clothing, infant, child, and adult
Waterproof Tarps and straps
Batteries of all sizes for flashlights
Aspirin, antacids, Tylenol
Toothpaste and toothbrushes
Soap and Deodorant
New spray bottles