If you have friends or family in Abaco, you likely know the extent to which the region’s recovery from Hurricane Dorian has been hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

L-R: Nick Mazzeo and Kimber Mazzeo (owners of Abaco Freight) and Velma and Josephina Curry, Marsh Harbour residents.

Nearly fifteen months after Dorian, there are still Abaconians who don’t have electricity or running water. More than a few are still living in tents.

Pandemic-related lockdowns and curfews have made it impossible for many businesses to reopen and as a result, unemployment in Abaco remains high.

And having lost virtually everything to Dorian in 2019, too many Abaco families have endured the added heartbreak of losing loved ones to Covid-19.  

Recognizing how difficult the coming holiday season will be for Abaconians, Abaco Freight and Shelby’s Mission are working hard to give Abaco’s children a happy Christmas.

Abaco Freight is holding a toy drive to collect new, unwrapped toys for boys and girls from toddlers to teens, and will transport (at their expense) all donations to Abaco the week before Christmas for distribution.

If you’d like to help, please send donations or deliver them to:  #AbacoChristmas c/o Abaco Freight, 1140 Water Tower Rd., Unit 11, Lake Park, Florida, 33403.

Abaco Freight will also be transporting items donated to Shelby’s Mission, which has established an Amazon Christmas wish list to collect gifts and stocking stuffers for Abaco children. Shelby’s Mission is also collecting funds with which gifts can be purchased via a GoFundMe page.

This is not the first time either of these organizations has come to Abaco’s aid. From flying in desperately needed relief supplies, to establishing a West Palm Beach relief center for evacuated Bahamians, to collecting both material and financial donations, Abaco Freight has been a constant and much appreciated source of help to Abaco since Hurricane Dorian.

Gifts collected by Abaco Freight’s 2019 Christmas Toy Drive, ready for loading for their flight to Abaco

Last Christmas, they collected and shipped more than 800 individual presents plus eight pallets of extra gifts, to ensure that no child in Abaco would go without. Here’s some video of their 2019 toy giveaway at Central Abaco Primary School, courtesy of photographer Cristy Nielsen.

Abaco Freight’s Nick Mazzeo delivers Christmas gifts to happy Abaco children

For more information and latest updates from Abaco Freight, follow their Facebook page.

Over the past year, seven-year-old Shelby Hires has worked tirelessly to raise funds to assist those affected by Dorian. This past August, thanks to her dedication and generous donors, Shelby was able to assemble and send 265 fully loaded back-to-school backpacks to kids in Abaco. (Did I mention? She’s seven!) To learn more about Shelby and her amazing mission, see her Facebook page.

Seven-year-old Shelby Hires – photo courtesy of Shelby’s Mission

I realize this Christmas season will be difficult for families everywhere, and that fewer may be in a position to contribute. But Abaco’s kids have endured more heartbreak and loss in the past fifteen months than any child ought to.

If you’re able to help bring joy to these young people this Christmas season, please do. You can buy gifts through Shelby’s Amazon wish list, contribute to her GoFundMe page, or send or deliver gifts to Abaco Freight at the address provided above.    

Thanks in advance, and thanks to Shelby’s Mission and Abaco Freight for everything they’ve done and continue to do for our family and friends in Abaco.

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