Venice's Agape Flights collecting donations to fly to The Bahamas
SARASOTA COUNTY - As the second most powerful storm recorded in the Atlantic battered The Bahamas for more than 24 hours, a Suncoast non–profit did anything but stay put.
Agape Flights is a Christian Ministerial non–profit aviation service that ships cargo to islands in the Caribbean. This week, Hurricane Dorian forever changed one frequent stop of theirs. Now, their boots on the ground in Venice need your help to heal the Bahamas after this heartbreaking storm.
"Our name (Agape) means God's unconditional love and God's unconditional love flights. We care about people," said CEO, Allen Speer. Agape Flights, a lifeline from the Suncoast for more than 350 ministries in the Caribbean.
He said, "We do a complete shopping service. So they call us and say, 'We need diapers' or 'We need this particular fan' or whatever they need. We go and get it for them and take it to them."
Loading up a PA-31 plane once or twice a week to fly goods from the Venice Municipal Airport to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and The Bahamas. "We stop in Exuma or Eluthra, Bahamas...," He said, "...and then clear customs in Kapayisyen, Haiti, and then over to the Dominican."
That route was disrupted Monday when Hurricane Dorian tormented their regular first stop. He said, "It is devastated. Water running down the roads. There's typically no elevation there. There's really no place to go to get away from the storm surge." Speer said that's when the non–profit kicked their efforts into high gear.
Boots on the ground launched a supply drive, while pilots, like Jeff Yannucciello, 'hurry up and wait' to help Dorian victims, refusing to press pause on their routine mission. He said, "...maximize our efforts of what we have and what we have available. We've had a load ready for those missionaries d own there in Haiti and Dominican Republic. So we're going to try and get that off to them right away while we can."
When they get the "green light", pilots plan to fly supplies into Eleuthra and aid in evacuations on Abaco and Grand Bahama. Speer said, "We need to go as many times as necessary to meet the needs."
To donate to Agape Flights to help Dorian victims, click here or mail a check: (please specify Relief Fund) to Agape Flights, 100 Airport Ave E, Venice FL, 34285
Phone 941-488-0990 or 941-584-8078
You may bring or send relief supply listed items to the Agape Flights hangar 8am-4pm Monday-Friday. For a list of needed items, click here.