VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - As Hurricane Dorian approaches the Florida coast, South Georgians have already begun looking at ways to help victims already impacted by the storm.
A Valdosta group has set up shop on Madison Highway, in front of the Valdosta Regional Airport, to collect supplies.
The group has been in the process of collecting supplies.
They have water, clothes, hygiene products and more. All in efforts to help people they said are in desperate need.
“They were crying out for help and we’re here and there was nothing, I’m gonna cry. There was nothing we could do," said Beverly Langdale.
Beverly and her family said since early Monday, they’ve been watching the devastation take place as a result of Hurricane Dorian.
“It was very emotional. We were physically, emotionally drained by the end of the day. I mean we just cried all day. We cried for them," said Beverly.
She said their family owns property in the Bahamas and their hearts have been with their neighbors.
“We love the people. We love the Bahamas itself. We love the Abacos. Our children’s have grown up there," said Beverly.
Because of the storm, their communication with friends on the island has been limited.
They said those they’ve talked to in Abaco are scared for their lives.
“There’s no shelter, there’s no running water, there’s no electricity, there’s no airport
to even get supplies in at the runway," said Beverly.
Evelyn Langdale said the group is working with a network of people to collect money and supplies to help those in need.
“This is just going to be a marathon, not a sprint. This is something that’s on people’s hearts right now but it’s going to take years," said Evelyn.
Evelyn said that they’re in it for the long haul, with the support of the community.
Kiara Patillo is a student at Valdosta State University who brought out tents from their admissions department to help with supply collection.
“We love giving back to the community. We do it all the time, so just helping people out is something that we really like to do," said Patillo.
Evelyn said the group is starting with vital items that help with sheltering like tarps, tents and chainsaws.
They plan to have the supplies flown to an airport in Nassau and then sent on a boat to Abaco.
For more information on how you can give, you can click here.
The group said they will be continuing to collect at the airport in the coming days.
At the airport, officials said they’re housing about twice as many planes as normal because of those seeking safe haven from Hurricane Dorian.
They said that they’re currently hosting about 55 additional planes.
Most of which they said are coming from flight schools in South Florida, seeking a safe place for themselves and their aircrafts.
Airport Manager Jim Galloway said they’re just glad that Valdosta was on their map because this could mean a lot to the entire community.
“It’s not only the field for the airplanes, they have to have hotels to stay in, restaurants to eat in for all these pilots that flew these airplanes in. It’s not just a benefit to the airport but a benefit to the local economy as well," said Galloway.
Galloway said they think of this as giving back to the aviation and Valdosta community.
He said the circumstances are sad for the evacuees but they’re thankful they have the space to give these people a temporary home.
While visiting the area, officials are asking that people be courteous and patient with those who may be in town and affected by Hurricane Dorian.
They said right now they expect there may be several evacuees in the area.
This may cause additional traffic on the road and in the local businesses.
Lowndes County Spokesperson Paige Dukes asks that you be understanding that many people don’t know when they’re going home.
“We just remind everyone to be patient with them," said Dukes. "They’re facing the unknown. They’re not sure what they’ll go home to, when they’re gonna go home. Just be kind. If there’s something you can do to help someone, if it’s nothing more than being patient and holding a door, just remember the circumstances that we’ve been in whenever our community was without power, or the times that we’ve relocated.”
Dukes wants to remind everyone that the overflow of people is a temporary thing.
They also want to remind people that things like increasing prices to exploit those affected is illegal.
She also suggested that evacuees in the area should be sure to continue to check with their local emergency management agencies for updates.