After a New Years’ fire in the shanty town known as the Pigeon Peas destroyed over 70 homes a former resident comes to their aid bringing relief to victims with the assistance of community members and churches.
On January 5, 2014, Mack Altidor brought to the victims of the Pigeon Peas fire numerous items to bring relief, including food, clothing, school items and more.
Mr. Altidor said when he thought about all the families affected, including some of his own, and after hearing the statement from the Deputy Prime Minister, Philip ‘Brave’ Davis who said “We want to help them but they must first help themselves” he felt compelled to help.
“I honestly agreed with him. So I decided to donate my salary for the month of December,” he said.
His family lost their home and all of their personal belongings in the fire and the mother and son who perished in the fire were his cousins.
He said on January 1 he was able to find a house in Central Pines for his parents and helped them get some of basic amenities that they needed, “but I felt a need to not only do for my immediate family but also do something to help the kids and others in my community who were also affected.”
He sought help from friends in the community and formed the Pigeon Peas Disaster Relief Committee which is now the Abaco Humanitarian Association.
“We went out and bought basic necessities and food items for the people and sought the help of others in the community and the help and feedback that we received from the people here in Abaco and The Bahamas at large was nothing short of what I was expecting,” Mr. Altidor said.
“The people showed me that this was not a Haitian issue, it was not a Bahamian issue; it was simply a humanitarian issue.”
He said he was overwhelmed by the support and added that he is proud to be an Abaconian, as not only did the churches in Abaco, but the people of Abaco showed up and are still showing up at designated drop-off locations and asking “How can we help”.
He said Pastor Samuel Cornish “simply showed me what it means to be a leader and has been the spiritual father that I’ve always known him to be. He’s been there for me since 2003 when I was trying to get in school and I will forever be grateful to the Change Ministries International family.”
He said the Abaco Christian Council and other organizations also supported and are working continuously around the clock, and “I think that we as Abaconians should be very proud of the way we came together.”
They distributed food items, school uniforms, school shoes and supplies, clothing, and boy’s haircuts and much more. “We were able to feed more than 200 persons, bought school uniforms, shoes, boy’s haircuts for school and school supplies for more than 75 boys and girls.
“We are still seeking the help of the public in assisting us with some bedding for those that are still displaced and sleeping on the floor of a friend’s home or in many cases homeless,” he said.
He said that everyone who were displaced and knew of the aid being provided came out to get some assistance and were “very grateful and encouraging.” He said “the people whose homes were not affected have also been helpful in allowing other friends and strangers to stay in their homes for the short time.”
Mr. Altidor said that going forward the needs of the people range from basic necessities to long term relocation. He noted that The Abaco Humanitarian Association/Pigeon Peas Disaster Relief Committee are in communication with the government in reference to finding suitable housing going forward.