'I feel hopeless being this far away:' Triangle residents from Bahamas organize relief efforts

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WTVD) -- For the last week, Jackie Rigby-Crawford has been watching the devastation in the Bahamas with a keen eye.

"It' just tears your heart to pieces," she said. "I want to be there. I feel hopeless being this far way."

She might be living in Wake Forest, but she grew up in the Bahamas. She was born in Nassau and raised in Freeport.

"It's very difficult to put it into words. It's almost like you're living a dream," she said. "Every time the phone rings, I'm afraid that it's not good news: my immediate family appears to be doing well despite the devastation, but then there are people you still know that are missing."

Rigby-Crawford is partnering with others in Wake County to do something for her homeland. One of those people is James Montague, who owns the Statue Side Business Park on Rock Quarry Road in southeast Raleigh.

Three years ago, Montague helped send truckloads of water to Flint during that crisis.

"You knew there was going to be massive devastation but just seeing what's happening now just makes you want to get out and do something," Montague said. "We've been blessed. We live in one of the best cities in the country and I think we owe it to society to jump in and help when people across the globe need our help."

The plan is to load up at least one 18-wheeler with supplies in the next 10 days. The National Emergency Management Agency says there's a dire need for things such as bottled water, tents, hygiene kits and non-perishable items.
"There are people there that don't have anywhere to sleep, there are people that don't have food to eat: there is a desperate need," said Crawford-Rigby. "Like I told my church family, if you cannot give or help out send us a prayer."

Chandra Sturrup, who helped captured the Gold Medal in the 4x100 relay for her native Bahamas in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, is also involved in the efforts.

"It's just heartbreaking: my heart just sank and when I saw it I was like there's nothing I can do. I was concerned about all the people back home," she said.

You can donate supplies to the salon at 918 Rock Quarry Road as well as to the Wake County Northern Regional Center in Wake Forest off of East Holding Avenue.

Organizers want to send the 18-wheeler down to Miami in about 10 days so they can ship to the Bahamas as quickly as possible.

Power company lineman work to restore power after a tornado hit Emerald Isle N.C. as Hurricane Dorian moved up the East coast on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019.

AP Photo/Tom Copeland

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