By Erin Register

The Bahamas took a devastating hit from Hurricane Dorian over Labor Day weekend this year. Several families lost everything they had; this destruction was especially noticed by Cade Frye, an eleven-year-old resident of Jupiter, Florida. Cade is the son of Doctors Depot’s President, Aaron Frye.

“When Dorian was sitting over the Abacos, my parents were really upset,” Cade explained. “They seemed to know how bad it was going to be before all the news came out. Listening to my parents discuss their plans of how they were going to help with taking over food, water, supplies, etc., I thought of all the kids I’ve become friends with over the years travelling in these exact areas of the Bahamas.”

Cade recalled blurting out, “I want to help the kids,” which became the inspiration for “Backpacks for the Bahamas,” a Facebook group created by Cade as a hurricane relief project.

“I had an idea of a backpack, not for school supplies, but for several items to be packed for that person. The backpack would be easy to carry and ensure that kids would get those items.” The backpacks are filled with essential supplies, as well as toys for the children on the island. The Facebook group currently has over 2,000 members, and over 1,000 backpacks have been collected with even more coming in.

The entire Frye family: Aaron, Amanda (wife), Tinsley (8), Blake (5) and Cade (11). Also pictured is Reverend Kenneth Lewis from the St. Paul Methodist Church in Freeport, Grand Bahama and Vida Hepburn, owner of the Bootle Bay fishing lodge, where the Fryes dock to bring supplies, and access Freeport and West End, Grand Bahama. Both Vida and Rev Lewis have been instrumental in making sure the backpacks and supplies reach the people in need.

When asked for his favorite memory or moment from this experience so far, Cade replied, “Definitely the delivering part.”

Cade is pictured with his friends, hand-delivering the backpacks.

A child is seen dropping off more backpacks for the hurricane relief project.

“Part of what makes our relief effort awesome is we have taken on the task of personally delivering as many backpacks as possible directly into the hands of the children. We do not want them to go into warehouses and just hope for them to reach the kids. The boys give me high fives and hugs, and it feels awesome! Because we have received so many packs, we have started to use people we trust to deliver the packs to many other islands.”

Cade also mentioned how one of the biggest challenges is inspecting every backpack he receives to make sure they are safe and filled with great items. “We won’t allow the possibility of one child getting a great backpack full of goodies and another one not so great,” said Cade. “So we add stuff to those that need it or remove unsafe items.”

Cade and his father Aaron not only take around 200 backpacks per trip, but they also take food and water. Their last load had 25 cases of water, 500 pounds of food and 1,000 diapers for children. “The response we’ve had has been unbelievable. We now have hundreds of backpacks reaching all the devastated islands of the Abacos and even to the shelters in Nassau,” Aaron noted.

For more information and to check current status on backpack donations, visit the Facebook page Backpacks for the Bahamas.

Bahama locals with their new backpacks.