After seeing what neighboring counties went through last year with Hurricane Michael, folks here on the Emerald Coast are eager to help those in the Bahamas that suffered at the hands of Hurricane Dorian.
“We’ve had customers coming in asking about it obviously,” said Ryan Cox, general manager of Bass Pro Shops at Destin Commons. “The Bahamas is a bucket list fishing location … and we have a lot of customers here that like to go over there and fish. So they are very concerned."
Cox said the short-term concern is to keep people safe and get them basic essentials and supplies and in the long term, the plan is to help them rebuild.
“I’m very excited that Bass Pro has stepped up. Millions of dollars are already headed that way,” Cox said, noting that more than 81,000 anglers have donated to Anglers for the Bahamas relief campaign through Convoy of Hope.
Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, has made a personal pledge of $1 million last week in Fort Lauderdale. He is also pledging a $100 donation to the relief fund for every a Johnny Morris Signature Reel or Rod sold in the stores.
Cox said they have already sold a couple of the rod and reels locally.
As for the Destin Bass Pro Shop, they are doing the “roundup.” For example if a customer buys something and it rings up at $12.39, they will have the option to roundup to the next dollar with all that money going to the Bahamas relief.
“All roundups are converted to go to the Bahamas relief,” Cox said. “All our cashiers are talking to the customers about what that money is going to.”
Customers also have the option to donate more at the time of checkout. For those that donate at least $5 or more in Bass Pro Shops will receive an “Anglers for the Bahamas” bumper sticker, which will be available in stores soon.
And it’s not just the Destin Bass Pro that’s onboard for the roundup, but all of the Bass Pro and Cabela stores across North America.
“That’s almost 200 stores that are gathering that donation money and is being sent to that relief,” Cox said.
The relief fund is going through Convoy of Hope, which Cox said has a good reputation.
“So we know it's going to the right places … it’s going directly to take care of those people,” he said.
And every penny counts.
“I know every time I buy a pack of gum … I round up,” Cox said. “Locals have asked how we can help. This gives them an avenue locally to contribute some money or buy product that we then know the money goes to the right place and through the right channels.”