Toronto volunteers prepare emergency food kits for the Bahamas

ABOVE: Canadian volunteers prepare food kits for the Bahamas

A week after Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas, a group of Toronto volunteers have prepared enough emergency food kits to feed thousands of people in the country.

On Saturday, an assembly line of about 200 volunteers packed kidney beans, green peas, lentils and rice into buckets at the headquarters of GlobalMedic on the west side of Toronto.

“He’s been down there all week trying to get supplies and deliver first aid, so we wanted to come and do our part,” said Anya Nordström Deveaux of her husband, Andre Deveaux, who arrived in the Bahamas on Wednesday.

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The former NHL player and now-firefighter is among seven members of GlobalMedic’s emergency response team, which is tasked with deploying water purification units and distributing other aid.

Dorian hit the Bahamas at the the start of the week with 295 km/h winds, killing at least 43 people and causing widespread damage to buildings and homes.

Originally from the Bahamas, Deveaux couldn’t initially reach his father who continues to live in Freeport, one of the hardest-hit areas.

WATCH: Coverage of Hurricane Dorian and its aftermath on Global News

On Thursday evening, Anya received good news from her father-in-law.

“I got a text message, actually, saying that he had gotten somewhere with enough power to charge up his phone,” she told Global News.

“ that it was the worst storm he had ever seen but that he was okay. His house is pretty damaged, I understand, but he’s alive and well and able to text.”

Culturally-specific food

GlobalMedic selected the specific assortment of beans and grains in the emergency food kits because they are considered staples in the Bahamian diet, explained the group’s executive director, Rahul Singh.

“If you’ve ever been affected by an emergency and you’ve had to eat emergency food, you realize how much it sucks. It tastes awful and after a few days you’re not going to want it,” Singh said.

The food shipped on Saturday alone would be enough to feed 10,000 people, according to Singh.

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“Because we’ve done all these things, like buying in bulk and leveraging volunteers and leveraging air lift capacity, we’re able to drive costs down, and when we drive costs down we innovate and we push more aid out to more people,” he said.

The food shipment is expected to land in the Bahamas on Sunday morning.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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