US & Canada

Bridal party delivers aid to Hurricane Dorian-hit Bahamas

The bride to be (in the black top and yellow shorts) Rikki Kahley surrounded by her bachelorette party Image copyright Rikki Kahley
Image caption Rikki Kahley (fourth from left) and her friends and family used her bachelorette party to help the Hurricane Dorian relief effort

Rikki Kahley was all set to celebrate her hen party in the Bahamas until Hurricane Dorian hit the islands.

But instead of cancelling her trip, the US bride-to-be decided to forge ahead, turning her bachelorette shindig into a relief mission for storm survivors.

The Georgia woman and her friends have just taken 40 bags of relief supplies to the ravaged archipelago.

Dorian, a category five hurricane, battered the Bahamas earlier this month, killing at least 50 people.

Image copyright Rikki Kahley
Image caption Rikki Kahley (right) and her sister Chloe, 17, came up with the plans to help with the relief effort

Ms Kahley, who is from Macon, Georgia, had booked her 12-15 September trip with family and friends back in April.

After the storm hit the 24-year-old decided not to call off her holiday when she heard how much the islands still needed tourism.

Her sister suggested issuing an appeal for donations, which went viral.

Image copyright Rikki Kahley
Image caption The donations included toilet paper, toothpaste, razors, torches, first aid kits, medicine and more

Ms Kahley told the BBC: "We were worried about whether it was possible to still go and also we wanted to figure out what we could do to help.

"My sister Chloe had the idea to take stuff over and so we shared posts on Facebook and it spiralled from there.

"Our friends and family wanted to donate and then more and more people got in touch."

She said that the family checked with the resort they were staying at - the Baha Mar - and were advised what sorts of items were needed.

The items they received included baby supplies, food, clothes and water filtration devices.

They approached Delta Airlines, which waived the baggage fees for their flight the day before they were set to travel.

Ms Kahley - who is getting married on 26 October - said: "We got to Nassau and the Grand Hyatt hotel sent a special bus to come pick us up as we had so many bags with us.

"There were 10 of us, and including our personal bags as well as the donated ones, that was at least 50 bags we carried to the island."

She said she felt sad for the hurricane-ravaged community, but would definitely return as she loved the destination so much.

Image copyright Rikki Kahley
Image caption The bachelorette party had their baggage fees waived for the trip

Ms Kahley's mother, Sandy Gibbs Kahley, who posted many of the updates to Facebook, said the family had been overwhelmed by the response.

She said they planned to organise a second donation and send the supplies to the archipelago.

Mrs Gibbs Kahley said that the bachelorette party limited their excursions while on the trip so that as much as possible could be donated to survivors.

Dorian was packing sustained winds of 295km/h (185mph) when it made landfall at Elbow Cay on the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas on 1 September.

It equalled the highest winds ever recorded for a hurricane at landfall.

Around 1,300 people are still missing, while at least 15,000 are in need of shelter, food and medical care.

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