TAMPA, Fla. - Bay Area businesses and families with close ties to the Bahamas are organizing donation drives to help victims of Hurricane Dorian.
"It's devastating, and they need our help," said Justin Santillo, a charter boat captain who is spearheading one of the relief efforts.
Santillo travels often to the Bahamas and was devastated when he started seeing the images of destruction that surfaced Tuesday as the storm loosened its grip over the island nation. Along with other charter boat captains, Santillo is working with local businesses to set up supply drop-off locations around town.
"We have two or three boats that will be departing West Palm Beach as soon as we're granted safe passage to do so," said Santillo.
Todd Murrian, who owns property in the Bahamas and visits regularly, is also planning to take much-needed supplies to the islands by boat, as early as Saturday.
"It's just like a bomb went off there," said Murrian, who's looking to take heavy equipment that can aid in search-and-rescue efforts.
Murrian is asking anyone who wants to donate tools like generators, chainsaws, and shovels, to drop them off at Bob Lee's Tire Company, located at 1631 4th Street North in in St. Petersburg.
Santillo is working with the following businesses to collect other useful supplies:
J.L. Marine Systems Inc.
9010 Palm River Rd, Tampa, FL 33619
4990 E Adamo Dr, Tampa, FL 33605
Salty Shamrock Irish Pub
6186 N U.S. Hwy 41, Apollo Beach, FL 33572
They are asking for the following supplies: batteries, flashlights, tarps, rolls of plastic, work gloves, sleeping bags, chainsaws, water purification tablets, large water jugs, staple guns, stainless staples, booters, generators, feminine products and baby products.