CONTRIBUTOR: JUELANDA THOMPSON
Earline Stubbs and her close-knitted family of 10, which includes a physically handicapped son, have been living in close quarters since Hurricane Irma destroyed their home last year, 2017.
The mother, who became a widow, weeks prior to the storm hitting Grand Bahama, witnessed the Sea Grape home she lived in for decades, literally, begin to crumble.
When Central and Local Governments began hurricane relief efforts, immediately following the storm, Stubbs was among those to be helped; however, the home which could not be repaired was eventually pushed down, with the promise of rebuilding.
However, to date, Stubbs and her family continue to be renters.
But yesterday – Tuesday, October 9 – Stubbs saw a light at the end of the tunnel when Unity in the Community organization came together with concerned residents, members of the clergy, Local Government and the current and former Members of Parliament for the area, to make a public appeal to assist the family with rebuilding their home.
Gathered at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, which is located directly across from the family’s vacant lot, Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe, who fully supports Unity in the Community’s initiative said, “today is a witness to true community. Partnerships such as this will prove instrumental in allowing communities for further develop themselves.”
She added that once working together, any job will get done.
Noting that the committee is performing a tremendous job, Parker-Edgecombe indicated that as a government they are here to set the blueprint, “but residents are the ones to make things happen and because of partnerships, such as this, we are seeing development and this is a true demonstration of neighbourly love.”
Parker-Edgecombe noted that the church should be commended for assisting with the “drive” to see Stubbs’ home rebuilt. “The government is not the only one that can make a difference, but the church can play a vital role in community building.”
The Member of Parliament expressed her excitement at being a part of the project and encouraged the community to lend a, “helping hand. Now is the time for us to demonstrate that at the end of the day we are all human beings, we all need each other and this is the way forward for a better country.”
Unity in the Community Co-chairman, David Wallace said that a building material list will be posted at Polar Electric and LMC Lumber for persons who wish to assist with the project.
Disclosing that two meetings have already been held, he said that his goal is to start construction next month – November – with the completion, with furnishings, date set for April 2019.
“Additionally, Sea Grape residents are gathering a list of volunteers who will be offering their assistance free of charge in the construction phase. There is an open invitation to the public, to embrace their human side and offer some kind of help – whether through monetary funding, with building materials or time. Come give your support. No matter how small your donation may be, whatever you can give, please do not hesitate to support.”
A bank account will be opened and account number published, for persons who want to donate financially to assist the family.
Although overwhelmed, Stubbs expressed her gratitude to the community for coming to her aid.