A 6-year-old boy from South Carolina used the money he’d saved for a trip to Disney World to help Hurricane Dorian evacuees, offering food, water, and prayers to those fleeing the deadly storm.
Jermaine Bell, who will be celebrating his 7th birthday on Sept. 8, used money that was saved for a birthday trip to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom to buy hundreds of hot dogs, chips, and water for people who were leaving their homes ahead of the storm, ABC affiliate WJBF reports.
“The people that are traveling to go to places, I wanted them to have some food to eat, so they can enjoy the ride to the place that they’re going to stay at,” he told the TV station. “I wanted to be generous and live to give.”
Jermaine stood on the highway holding two handcrafted signs to get the attention of people driving out of the city. In just one day, he served 100 evacuees and has served even more people since then, according to CNN.
In addition to physical assistance, the child offered spiritual help to those displaced by Dorian: “Want me to pray for you?” he asked.
Jermaine’s grandmother, Aretha Grant, who helped him pass out food, shared how her grandson prayed over evacuees.
“He actually even prayed for a family while they were here in reference to their house being OK when they got back, so that was really tear dropping,” she said.
“They weren’t able to take everything,” she said of those displaced by the storm. “So just knowing that they couldn’t take everything and we were able to have a house, so that’s the blessed part that he should be thankful for and get out of it.”
Jermaine told reporters that when Hurricane Dorian is over, he hopes his birthday celebration can continue.
He said he's still planning to “go [to] Animal Kingdom and see lots of lions and have a Lion King party,” he said.
The child's generosity was applauded by dozens on social media, including Franklin Graham, president of the humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse.
“What an impact—Way to go Jermaine! Jesus said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35),” Graham wrote.
Ahead of the storm, 16 coastal counties in Florida were placed under evacuation orders, but most of those had been lifted by midday Wednesday. Three Florida residents died in incidents related to storm preparation, including a 55-year-old man who fell while trimming trees around his house, local officials reported.
President Trump said on Wednesday that overall, Florida had been “very, very lucky, indeed.”
“Our original chart was that it was going to be hitting Florida directly,” Trump said in the Oval Office as he held up a forecast map showing an earlier projection of Hurricane Dorian’s path. “And it took a right turn, and ultimately, hopefully, we’re going to be lucky.”
Other areas, however, were not so fortunate: entire parts of the Bahamas were wiped out as Hurricane Dorian slammed the country’s northern Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands. So far, 20 are confirmed dead, with politicians and aid groups alike warning that number will likely rise.
“We have had catastrophic damage to both the public and private infrastructure that will take hundreds of millions, if not billions to fund recovery and reconstruction,” Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest said, according to The Guardian.
“With approximately 70 percent of the homes underwater, we anticipate tremendous social and economic dislocation and disruption in the short term. The mental health of those who have endured this monster storm is a priority concern of the government.”
A number of churches, aid groups and private individuals across the U.S. have come together to help the Bahamas recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
On Wednesday, dozens gathered at Vous Church in Miami, Florida, led by Rich and DawnCheré Wilkerson, to pray for families stuck in the devastation and gather supplies to send to those affected by the storm.
“Tonight we gathered to pray for those affected by Hurricane Dorian,” DawnCheré wrote on Instagram. “Believing for this path of destruction to not move forward any further. Miracles happen when the church prays. Many people brought supplies to be donated to the Bahamas and you can bring more on Sunday.”