The Bahamas are one of the favorite vacation destinations for Canadians. The Bahamians are our friends. And friends aren’t just friends for the good times. They stick with each other through the hard times too. That’s real friendship.

The devastation from hurricane Dorian has been described by the Bahamian Prime Minister as “total.” Some 50% of the infrastructure has been destroyed.70,000 are homeless and the death toll currently at 51 is expected to rise. This out of a population of some 375,000. Imagine it. That’s the West Island.

Grand Bahama has been described as “dead.” There is no power or running water. Some 13,000 homes have been destroyed. Dorian pummeled Grand Bahama for two days.

This is a time to help our friends. And not just with thoughts and prayers. It is a time for charity. A time for giving. There are many groups collecting for Bahamian relief. Most are legitimate. Use vigilance but give. It is time to monetize our moral GDP.

The Red Cross is a good place to start your giving. You can also call the Bahamian Embassy in Ottawa which has an emergency desk that can direct your giving. But local community activist Jason Forbes is out front on the issue. He is working with Bahamian non-profit HeadKnowles and relief boxes are being set up throughout Montreal. And the Bahamian Association of Montreal is also hard at work.

One of the best ways to help is not to cancel your travel plans for later on. Tourism is 50% of The Bahamas GDP . Thousands depend on it. Putting money into the Bahamian economy is a painless way to help our friends.

Compassion helps all of us. Those who receive and those who give. Giving raises the nobler angels of our natures. And that translates into every aspect of our personal and professional lives. It also makes us become more engaged in our own communities and those in need in our own backyards. The change is redemptive.

And perhaps this is a very good time for this message. We are entering a federal election. We should keep in mind that governments aren’t very good at helping. Fifteen years after the horrible Tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed over 250,000, some 80% of government pledges have not been honoured. As so often happens in life, at the end of the day it’s really up to us. We can’t buckpass compassion.

Let us demonstrate in this human disaster the same commitment we do to glossy, fashionable projects. Go to one less Gala and give directly. This is a chance to change our priorities of spending.

Let’s just do it. We just need the will. Do not retreat into splendid isolation waiting for the next good time. Be a friend in the hard times. Dare to care. Give!

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