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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A week after Hurricane Joaquin ripped through the Bahamas, the island nation has become desperate for help.

Thousands of residents have been left without homes and electricity, including Acklins Island, Crooked Island, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador.

Major relief efforts are underway in Miami River Supplies. Donated items are filling a ship that will make its way to the Bahamas. The ship is with the Betty K. Line, a Bahamian shipping company.

“It’s only fitting we do our share,” said Preston Edwards, who works with the Betty K. Line’s Miami office, and is from Nassau. His family was one of many affected by the storm.

“It means a lot ’cause the support that’s been shown is beyond words,” said Edwards.

Food for the Poor CEO Robin Mahfood said he heard the pleas for help from representatives of the Catholic church in the Bahamas and the South Florida Episcopal diocese and went into action.

“The officials told us today what their needs are, and I need to get it there yesterday,” said Mahfood. “My heart was broken when I saw the woman pleading for help for her and her neighbors. They have nothing left.”

Gathering spots for canned meats and dairy are now placed throughout South Florida, including all eight Rick Case dealerships.

“We can gather these goods and get the containers filled and to the Bahamas as quickly as possible,” said Rita Case, VP of the Rick Case Automotive Group.

Containers of essential items, such as building supplies and baby items, are being assembled and will be sent immediately, but the group needs help with a request for canned goods. They are specifically taking in canned meats, canned fish and canned milk, both evaporated and condensed. No other items will be accepted.

Anyone who wishes to donate can drop off their items at Food for the Poor’s headquarters at 6401 Lyons Road in Coconut Creek.

Drop-off hours are between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Food for the Poor has helped feed millions of people in 17 countries within Latin America and the Caribbean, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs for the poor.

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