Efforts made in Albany to help those impacted by Hurricane Dorian

Efforts made in Albany to help those impacted by Hurricane Dorian

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Hotels in Albany are filling with Hurricane Dorian evacuees and a restaurant owner is offering discounted meals to those fleeing the storm.

Restaurant owner BJ Fletcher, also an Albany City Commissioner, said all meals for those escaping Dorian will be discounted while they’re here in Albany.

Fletcher is challenging other business owners in the area, working to see how they can come together to make Albany an appealing place for evacuees.

A Bible left on a table, in the middle of an Albany restaurant.

BJ's Country Buffet is offering discounted meals to Hurricane Dorian Evacuees.
BJ's Country Buffet is offering discounted meals to Hurricane Dorian Evacuees. (Source: WALB)

“The Bible says help strangers. It’s just the right thing to do," said Fletcher.

A book full of scriptures, Fletcher said is shaping the way local stores do business.

“It’s strange. I hear people say, ‘oh you know, this is a way of life, but I don’t think almost losing your home every year is a way of life.’”

To help those escaping the path of Hurricane Dorian, Fletcher’s offering 20 percent off of meals at her restaurants. And she’s calling other restaurant owners, to see if they can offer discounts or meals, as well.

“People are following the storm,” said Fletcher.

Albany hotels are filling with people escaping the coasts.

“In the blink of an eye, one minute you’ve got everything you’ve owned and worked so hard for, then the next it’s gone,” Fletcher said.

Something people in Albany unfortunately know of all too well.

BJ Fletcher
BJ Fletcher (Source: WALB)

“We were here a year and a half ago. Stop and think about how you felt when someone brought you that hot meal or they reached out to you with a kind gesture,” said Fletcher.

For the scared and tired travelers, a restaurant booth may be the surprising, yet comforting sight they need.

“Home cooked meals," Fletcher said. “Sometimes that’s as close as you can get to being home when you’re away from the place you call home."

Fletcher’s offering the discounts at all three restaurant locations on Dawson, Slappey and East Oglethorpe Drive.

More help from Albany:

Albany's Chehaw takes in furry, feathery evacuees

Chehaw is also hosting Hurricane Dorian evacuees.

The evacuees just happen to be furry and have a tail.

The zoo is hosting 15 lemurs and a few hornbills, which is a type of bird.

The animals are from Saint Catherine's Island, which has an animal sanctuary.

Ben Roberts, Chehaw deputy director
Ben Roberts, Chehaw deputy director (Source: WALB)

Since these animals are wild, and not used to enclosures, we didn't get to see them yet.

They just escaped the storm, getting to Chehaw late Monday night.

“Something that’s becoming fairly regular, it seems, this time of year. We’re either calling people to ask for help or calling people to see if we can help,” Ben Roberts, Chehaw deputy director, said.

The Chehaw Zoo has partnerships with neighboring zoos, so they can all help each other during storms.

Albany Civil Air Patrol Unit on standby as Hurricane Dorian approaches

How the Civil Air Patrol is gearing up to help:

The Albany Civil Air Patrol Unit is ready to go wherever they’re needed during Hurricane Dorian.

Crews are on standby, until they’re tasked.

That means they’re given orders to go into areas heavily impacted by the hurricane.

It could be to the places you see in the pictures, like the Bahamas or places along the coast.

“We’re looking forward to helping out however we can. We have a heart for our community, so we’re certainly hoping and praying the impact will be minimal here. But in case it’s not, we’ll be ready,” said Commander Gregory Frich, of the Albany Composite Squadron.

Once they get their orders, crews will be sent to areas in need the most.

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