It could have been us.
“Everything predicted was supposed to hit us. Every analyst, every statistic, every reporter said Florida was going to be hit by a category 5 hurricane. Luckily, we weren’t, said Dyrell Johnson, founder of Community Healing Project Inc. “Right now, I think it’s almost our mission, our right as humans to step up and give back. Kids that were supposed to go back to school on Monday now have to worry about where they are going to sleep right now.”
Community Healing Project sponsored a city-wide clothing, medical supply and food drive in Daytona Beach Saturday, Sept. 7, which was originally supposed to assist Volusia County and Central Florida families affected by whatever damage Hurricane Dorian brought. Those efforts will now benefit the Bahamas.
Mr. Johnson added, “Being that I’m from this community, it always felt like we lacked help during hurricanes. Every year since I was a kid, we'd get flooded and have to deal with the damages of hurricanes here in town.”
Disaster relief isn't new for Mr. Johnson's group.
“In 2017, my organization, Community Healing Project Inc., traveled to Houston to aid with Hurricane Harvey so it’s always been a task of ours,” he said. “So, we like to make sure that during and after a storm our community will at least have the resources they need to rebuild.
“Fortunately, we won't be needing as many supplies and donations here, so we will be proudly shipping supplies to the Bahamas to aid them in their relief,” Mr. Johnson said. “Hurricanes damage homes, they damage communities, they ruin memories (i.e. all the family pictures that get destroyed). When mother nature comes into play it’s time for humans to step up to the plate.”
Mr. Johnson anticipates their drives will be conducted every few weeks, probably for the next few months, as this will not be a quick fix for the Bahamas. He has partners ready to take the supplies collected directly to the Bahamas and has follow-ups built in as a way to ensure for checks and balances.
Although the initial drive may bring less supplies than originally planned, Mr. Johnson emphasized even the smallest donation will help someone as the need is critical.
“If we get one bag of stuff today, that one bag will help a family,” he said. “They are going through living hell right now. We’re ready, we’re here, we’re mobilized. One community at a time, one piece of furniture at a time.”
Items needed include canned goods, dry foods, shoes, new socks/underwear, baby formula, diapers and medical items.
Mr. Johnson stated with Hurricane Irma, CHP helped 1,100 families and this time would like to double that number.
Jermaine Stanley of Daytona Beach is in charge of Mission Be Great, a youth nonprofit group, where he teaches children self-sufficiency, educational development and social growth. Community involvement is one of the initiatives, including assisting the Community Healing Project with their street to street cleanups.
“I believe kids are the leaders of tomorrow so with them learning this habit young they will eventually do it when they get older,” Mr. Stanley said. “It’s instilling in them to understand where you come from (and) give back to your community. That’s why I feel like they need to be here.”
Founded in Daytona Beach, Florida, Community Healing Project organization was created to promote economic empowerment, educational advancement and health awareness in urban and impoverished communities. Featured several times on national news programs, such as ABC'S Good Morning America, they specialize in youth mentoring, community outreach and social activism to attain their ultimate goal of changing the world, one community at a time. In August 2017, they were awarded the "Getting Results Award" from WKMG, an Orlando CBS station. As of August, they have served more than 5,500 families in seven states with food and clothing drives as well as community initiatives.