VSU Grand Bahama native holds Dorian donation drive

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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
September 12, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- While The Bahamas are hundreds of miles away from South Georgia, it's home for some Valdosta State University students.

The Caribbean Student Association says, while they're divided by water they're united at heart. Members are using that message to help families impacted by Hurricane Dorian. The group is hosting a donation drive, collecting items to aid relief efforts, like cleaning supplies, personal care items, nonperishable food items and water.

The student association will have a drop box located at the student union for two weeks.

One of the organizers of the drive is member Ashanti Stuart, an international student from Grand Bahama.

Stuart said she remembers when Dorian hit like it was yesterday. She remembers being scared, not being able to reach family members as the images of the destruction began pouring in.

While her parents are safe, Stuart said they lost everything.

Without a safe way of returning to the island, Stuart said this donation drive bridges to gap to those at home.

"You start to feel helpless, and the communication isn't there, and you can't reach home, call home, text, without getting a response. So I wanted to get involved, specifically because I wanted to feel like there's something I can do," Stuart said. "The Bahamian people, we're very resilient people, and we're united in love and service. It doesn't matter what happens to us, we're going to have each other's backs regardless."

Stuart said while these donations may seem small, they make a big impact on those who need it, and every little bit helps.

Stuart said even after losing everything, her parents continue to remind her that material things can be replaced, but lives can't. Nearing her last few semesters at Valdosta State, she said she doesn't know what impact this will have on her ability to finish school, but she's determined to find a way.

The students will be collecting donations at this weekend's Blazer Football game, as well as next week's home volleyball game.

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