DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) -- Sonja Brown has been coming to work each day with her eyes glued to news reports about the devastation in her hometown of Freeport, Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian devastated the island.
Brown just found out her mother survived the storm.
“Talking to my mom was like a breath of fresh air; literally, I felt like I was holding my breath for days.” said Brown, the Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney DeKalb County. “She has no power. I just want her to be safe and get her somewhere where she is not alone because my sisters and I all live here,” Brown said.
Fortunately for Brown, she is surrounded by supportive colleagues. Elected officials throughout DeKalb County are conducting a donation drive for Hurricane Dorian victims, by turning their offices into donation sites. DeKalb employees and citizens have donated several cases of water, toiletries and household items, and non-perishable food.
“I think every Bahamian that’s in Freeport, that’s in Abaco, that’s going through this, they’ll know that they’re not alone,” Brown said.
DeKalb Superior Court Clerk Debra DeBerry is one of the organizers who has turned her office into a collection site.
“Our hearts go out to the Bahamian people,” DeBerry said. “It’s the right thing to do and that’s why we are doing it,” she added.
The sheriff's office and the tax commissioner are also joining in--making it a friendly competition. The sanitation office also asked to serve as a collection site.
“They are a part of the family of DeKalb, and we want to let them know that we are interested in their well-being here at home and in the motherland where their family and friends live,” said DeKalb County Tax Commissioner Irvin Johnson.
Kristy Fields, the co-founder of JABY, Inc., is helping coordinate donations through her non-profit.
“We wanted to make sure that we could get them the stuff not the Red Cross or having to wait,” Fields said. “We wanted to make sure we can have an impact on them first. If I can get 5,000 cases of water, it will be a blessing,” she added.
The county filled moving trucks full of supplies during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. They are hoping to top that effort this time around.
“There’s at least 10,000 maybe but a lot of Bahamians live in DeKalb County,” Brown said. “We feel welcomed here, and it’s great to know that the leaders in this county are putting the human side first.”
Donations can be dropped off by Noon on Monday, September 9, 2019 at:
- The DeKalb Clerk of Superior Court 556 N. McDonough Street, Room G-140 Decatur, GA 30030
- The DeKalb Sheriff’s Office 4425 Memorial Drive, Jail Lobby Decatur, GA 30032
- The DeKalb Tax Commissioner’s Office 4380 Memorial Drive, Dealer Lobby Decatur, GA 30032
These are the items they're accepting:
- Bottled water
- Tool kits
- Dish soap
- Personal hygiene, toiletries
- Paper towels
- Manual can openers
- Mosquito repellent
- Rain gear
- Disinfectant supplies, bleach
- Canned food, ready-to-eat soup
- Packaged foods
- Men’s, women’s and children’s clothing
- Baby supplies (diapers, food, formula, etc.)
- Garbage bags
- Food storage bags
- Towels and bed sheets
- First aid kits