Customers at Four Rivers give back, reflecting on Hurricane Dorian's impacts

By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
September 8, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) –

In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Four Rivers Smokehouse opened it's doors for the first time on a Sunday, to collect donations, and use the proceeds from purchases to assist victims in the Bahamas.

The restaurant donated all of the proceeds to World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization that provides meals in the wake of disasters.

The location in Tallahassee, was jam packed on Sunday with continuous lines, filled with customers who were looking to give back. And for many, their contributions were more than a meal-it hit close to home.

Haley Barrett, a Florida State student was sitting with friends, when she recalled that not too long ago, many of her loved ones were needing help, "What Florida went through last year, and we know what it is like so I wanted to come and support."

Barrett, lived through Hurricane Michael. And she has also visited the Bahamas, something she now calls a heartbreaking sight, "It's devastating I mean seeing those houses, people don't have a place to go home to and they don't have food. Their lives are just taken up by a storm and their whole life flipped upside down."

That empathy was also felt by Jay Colle who was sitting a few tables down with his wife and friends. Colle remembers when he was in a similar situation during Hurricane Hermine, "Where you are using your gas grill to cook food because there is no electricity. So yea we definitely felt the impacts by that."

Those in attendance on Sunday, like Colle knows how important a hearty meal and everyday essentials, like water and medication, can go, "Shelter, food, clothing and hospital care. All that. So this is one of the main four things that people just need to survive."

Jonathan Watson, was in attendance with his family and friends. The father, shares, "I've got three kids and some friends are staying with us and we just thought it was important to maybe think of others and while we are eating maybe think of those that are in need of some food as well."

The devastation left behind by a Hurricane is something, Scott Ward a state worker in the healthy sector knows all to well. Having worked through multiple Hurricanes, he says the devastation, during and after Michael were shocking "We know that the widespread damage all the way through Georgia was extensive..."

But his heart also goes out to those in the islands, "To think about that powerful storm over the Bahamas over the islands, it made you think during the 40 plus hours it was happening, they were suffering."

With every bite of their sandwich or meat, these customers know they are helping many.