WELLINGTON, Fla — It’s called the Abaco Strong Relief Center and it’s a concept that was created by the nonprofit Horses that Help and the company Abaco Freight. The Mall at Wellington Green donated the store space for the pop-up shop to provide immediate relief to Hurricane Dorian evacuees.
“We’ve had girls who come up and pick up a hairbrush and so excited to brush their hair, kids coming up and clutching a stuffed animal because everything they had was lost,” said creator Yvonne Moritz.
Unlike every other store in the mall where you have to dish out money for the items, everything inside this store is free.
“They have helped us a lot. This center is a blessing I wish they could stay open forever,” said Sherry Vazquez.
The store says its helped more than 200 families since opening a couple weeks after the storm devastated the Abacos. Sherry Vazquez is one of the people who has benefitted from the store. She and more than a dozen family members are now paying it forward.
“I love coming to help out and assist because they are giving to us so the least we can do is come here and offer our services to them as well,” said Vazquez.
The shop is currently looking for volunteers to help unload containers off of trucks, organize supplies and help victims coming into the store to shop.
“This is just the beginning of a very long road. When a disaster is this big and this catastrophic we go from this short term need of emergency supplies to a long term need of rebuild and construction and bringing back schools and hospitals,” said United Way of Palm Beach County Meghan Foley.
United Way of PBC is one of the biggest contributors to the cause. They are working with the event organizers to not only meet immediate needs here in the U.S. but make sure those who couldn’t get out of the Bahamas are also take care of.
The store is open Tuesdays through Thursdays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. In order to receive donated items, you must show proof of address from the Bahamas.