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Statesboro Bahamian Students Relief – Week 7 Update

Financial help still needed for Statesboro Bahamian students.  See specific needs in this update.

The Statesboro Bahamian students and hosts last met on Sunday, October 6 at the Georgia Premier Academy.  A big shout out to Avel and Anna Leon for catering a delicious meal from their restaurant, El Sombrero in Statesboro.  Please thank them, the next time you are in the restaurant.

Our next meeting will be this Sunday, October 27th at 2 PM at Georgia Premier Academy, 829 Miller Street Extension, Statesboro, GA  30458.  All Bahamian Students, sponsors and host are invited.

Many of you are asking how you can do more or how your church, business or organization can get involved and help.  Here is an overview of what we are doing and ways in which you can directly get involved:

Thanksgiving:

At the meeting, we discussed the student’s plans for Thanksgiving.  Since Thanksgiving is not a holiday celebrated in the Bahama’s, the students normally stay in Statesboro.  They typically do go home over the Christmas break, which is a three-week break for the college students.  We plan to evaluate where the island and their parents are on rebuilding in early December.  We will then make a decision on whether we try to get the students home for Christmas or maybe coordinate an event in Ft. Lauderdale to reunite the students and their parents.

Feed the Boro has offered to feed all of the Georgia Premier Academy students along with all of the GSU Bahamian students.  This is a great opportunity for host families to reach out to the students and invite them to events either on Thanksgiving Day or during the week since they will be on break from school.

Fair Parade:

Chris Yaughn, with Fostering Bulloch, has invited the students to ride in the Kiwanis Fair parade today.  They are gathering at 3:45 at the Hope Chest on Elm Street.  Look for them on the Trolley in the parade today.  Due to school commitments, it looks like only five or so can attend.  If any of the host families would like to join them and ride along, we would love to have you.

Fair Invitation for Thursday:

The Kiwanis Club of Statesboro has generously given each of the Bahamian student’s free admission and one book of ride tickets for the fair.  Thursday night, October 24th, is student’s night and this is the night the Kiwanis would like for them to attend as a group.  Our plan is to meet inside the main entrance building, beside the Lori Grice Photography both at 7PM.   If any of the host families would like to meet us there and join us and the students would love that.  Only four of the students have ever been to the fair.  They are tremendously excited about this opportunity.

Shipping Container:

The container of supplies that we had hoped to be in the Bahama’s on October 9th has finally arrived!  We are coordinating with a trucking company on the ground to get the supplies to the families.  Our cost for this is $150. This was our second shipment of supplies.  The Rotary Foundation paid for this shipment.  As you can tell from the delay, this process remains to be very cumbersome.  NEED: $150

We have another shipment with of 28 pallets of supplies donated by our community ready to go at DirectLine Ministries.  A shout out to Paul Deem for coordinating, organizing and placing the supplies on pallets.  Also, a special thanks to John Long and CSM for collecting the supplies and getting them to the DirectLines warehouse.  We were waiting to make sure the previous one went well before we attempted a third.  DirectLine and others have raised funds to cover the most of this shipment.  We need $800 more to cover the shipping and $150 for the truck in the Bahamas.  NEED: $950

Rebuilding:

Chris Yaughn and David Cobb are still working to get donations of supplies or funds to purchase supplies.  They need lumber, sheetrock, roofing materials, etc.  We do have a company that is willing to sell us the supplies at cost.  So far, they have raised $12,000 for this effort.  They are also reaching out to churches and organizations that would like to send teams of volunteers over to help.  This is an excellent mission project for churches!

We are still sorting through logistics to get the materials there.  Our cost to ship from a container is $4,000.  We also need a way to get volunteers over.  The ferry that runs from Ft. Laudable to Grand Bahamas Island costs around $200 per person.  We do have a connection to a hotel that is back operating through one of the students.  We are open to suggestions or ideas on following through.  We have five students at this point who have asked for rebuilding assistance.  Need: unknown

Student’s needs:

  1. The student I shared the screen shots from in the last email who lost his dad during the Hurricane, mother has reached out to see if we can help him for next semester also. The mom is in Rwanda with her three other children living with family.  She is trying to figure out a path forward but does not see a way to come up with the funds to keep him here another semester.  The University has offered to give him in-state tuition, which is a huge help.  He will need funds for tuition, housing and a meal plan.  He does have a host family and they are discussing this with their church and Sunday school class.  I wanted to put this need out there in case any of you knew of others who might be compelled to help.  He is a remarkable young man who has touched our hearts with his kindness and gratefulness for all we have done for him already.  Need $9,000 estimate
  2. One of the graduate student’s transmission has gone out in her car. Only a few of the students have cars.  The ones that do are very generous to share their cars and to provide transportation for others.  Ray Driggers, the owner of D&R Car Care, has found a used transmission that comes with a warranty.  He has searched for the best deal and feels very good about this supplier.  He has agreed to install the transmission free if we can purchase the transmission.  The cost is $1,500.  NEED: $1,500
  3. IPhone – we have had to replace one phone and several of the students need to upgrade their phones. Many are using very old phones with damaged screens, etc.  The one we replaced was an iPhone 5.  If you have an IPhone 6 or newer, please consider donating it to us for the students.  AT&T has a prepaid wireless plan that is the most affordable and works the best for the students.  The IPHone 6 will work on the AT&T network no matter who your cell provider is.  Most IPhones are locked so they will only work on the carrier providing the service.  Many of us use Verizon for instance.  So getting the phones unlocked is a bit of a process.  We are also open to Android phone or anything that you have also.  The IPhone 6 or newer are the simplest to transfer to the AT&T network.   They could use cases and screen protectors also.  Many of the phones are in working order, but the screens are badly damaged. Need: SmartPhones preferably IPhone 6 or newer, protector screens and cases
  4. We have two students that have needed extra help with medical costs. One has broken his fibula playing inter mural rugby.  Don Aaron and Optim have been very kind and helpful in treating this young man.  There have been some incidental costs for orthopedics, etc.  Need: $275
  5. One of our students needs a root canal. Suk Patel and the team at East Georgia Oral and Facial surgery saw her and referred her to an endodontist.  This student does have insurance, but may need help with out of pocket fees.  Not sure what the cost will be.  If any of you have a relationship with Southeastern Endodontics – Dr. Baker or Dr. Andrews and could reach out for help – she would be grateful.  Otherwise, I will place that need in a future email.

I will close by saying again how tremendously grateful I am personally to each of you for stepping up in phenomenal ways for these incredible students.  The work we are doing has made a life changing impact on not only their lives but their parents and families lives also.

There are moments when this is simply so overwhelming for Lori and I in trying to coordinate these efforts and be there for them whenever a need arises.  When we feel like we just need a break, we are reminded of their parents and the struggles and uncertainty that they have placed on them.  Then we push on.  Every struggle is matched with an undeniable gift from God – through you – to meet their needs and overcome the struggle.

It is remarkable how God continues to show up through you for these remarkable children and this journey.  Together we are making a tremendous difference.

THANK YOU!

If you have family, church or friends who may want to help with a specific need listed have them reach out to me directly at dewayne@lorigrice.com , 912-489-3912 or in these ways:

TO HELP FINANCIALLY:

  • In person to the Statesboro Bahamian Student Relief Fund at any Synovus bank.
  • By mail make check to the Statesboro Bahamian Student Relief Fund, C/O Synovus – Attn: Mall Branch, P.O. Box 568, Statesboro, GA  30459
  • Give electronically through a fund established at Crossroads Community Church at mycrcc.com/give

OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP:

  • Donate supplies at Christian Social Ministries at 122 East Parish Street, Statesboro, Georgia 30458.
  • Building material donations are being accepted at Directline Ministries, 218 Stockyard Road, Statesboro, GA   Call Paul Deem first to schedule a time to deliver at 740-350-4515.

 

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