Junkanoo hit hard by Hurricane Dorian; How you can help

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Hurricane Dorian is long gone, but the storm has left more than 70,000 people homeless, including some Bahamians with a direct connection to Savannah.

A Junkanoo tribe based in Nassau has been a part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on Tybee Island and in Savannah for nearly 20 years. But some of those performers are among the homeless in the Bahamas after the deadly storm.

Quinten “Barabbas” Woodside, their leader and owner of Junkanoo World Museum in Nassau, says his members are scattered across the islands and some survived the storm but lost virtually everything they own.

“A lot of friends and family have lost their homes who are part of our organization,” Woodside said in a telephone interview with News 3.

Jack Flanigan, the owner of The Original Crab Shack Owner and Junkanoo’s sponsor during their Chatham County visits, says he first brought the parade performers from the Bahamas to the local celebration of Irish heritage as a tribute to the Gullah/Geechee cultures of the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. But Flanigan laments the position they’re in following the devastation of Dorian.

“They are coming out of there with nothing but the clothes on their back,” Flanigan said.

Woodside said the need among members of his organization are pouring in from some of the hardest-hit areas of the island nation.

“They need underwear, clothing, at this time, in particular, the males, and they need t-shirts, underwear, toothpaste, that sorts of stuff right now,” Woodside said.

Flanigan initially hoped to organize a clothing drive but is changing the nature of the relief effort.

“It’s the logistics and the Bahamian customs. They have a problem. They’re all backed up,” he said. “So we’re going to collect some cash…for the relief.”

How to help

The Original Crab Shack has now set up a trio of ways to give to help the Junkanoo Tribe that’s added their Bahamian flavor to St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Chatham County:

  • SunTrust Bank: The Barabbas Tribe Junkanoo Tribe Relief Fund
  • Online: thecrabshack.com (click the “donate” link)
  • Telephone: Call The Crab Shack @ (912) 786-7009

“They’ve made a whole lot of friends over here in the churches here and another and everybody here wants to help them,” said Flanigan.

The Junkanoo tribe leader says it’s not just his organization — Junkanoo across the Bahamas are suffering in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. But he feels blessed his organization has people on Tybee Island and in Savannah who have become more than friends over the last 17 years.

He says they’re like family: “To know that we’re getting that help from Savannah here from our friends and our brothers and sisters from there, is a great relief and we gonna let everybody in the Bahamas know exactly what your station and your people in Savannah, Georgia are doing for us.”

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