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Local Bail Bonds Business Gathers Relief Supplies For the Bahamas

Andrea Perdomo
Relief supplies at All Out Bail Bonds in Fort Myers

While large, international nonprofits descend on the Bahamas, some small, grassroots efforts in Southwest Florida are packaging up help with a personal touch. A Fort Myers bail bonds business is spearheading one such effort. 

The owner of All Out Bail Bonds, Maria Paterno, has a home in Bimini and has been traveling to the Bahamas for more than 30 years. She considers the clusters of islands that make up the country her second home.

"When we heard the storm was going to go there, we knew it was going to be devastating at that category," Paterno said. "So we knew we had to start thinking how to help these people after the fact."

Paterno said she posted on facebook about setting up her bail bonds business as a place to collect relief supplies for the Bahamas.

Her former business partner is in charge of getting the items to those who need it. About five boat owners will load the supplies onto their vessels in Miami on Friday and head to Great Abaco.

"There is no docks, there is nothing," Paterno said. "They’re meeting with some larger barges to unload the materials and they will distribute them."

Paterno said the boaters have clearance from the Bahamian government to drop off the supplies. They also hope to be able to transport people from Marsh Harbor on Great Abaco to neighboring islands.

All Out Bail Bonds will continue to collect supplies until noon on Thursday. From there the supplies will be taken on a trailer to the awaiting vessels in Miami.

Andrea Perdomo is a reporter for WGCU News. She started her career in public radio as an intern for the Miami-based NPR station, WLRN. Andrea graduated from Florida International University, where she was a contributing writer for the student-run newspaper, The Panther Press, and was also a member of the university's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.