‘Counting On’: Members of the Duggar Family Are in the Bahamas to Help With Hurricane Dorian Disaster Relief

Hurricane Dorian has devastated the Bahamas, killing at least five people and inflicting catastrophic damage and flooding on much of the country. The storm is now moving toward the U.S. coast, and relief efforts for the Bahamas have begun. Among those helping out are members of the Duggar family. Several members of the Counting On family have flown to the island nation with a medical and disaster relief team. 

The Duggars are working with Medic Corps 

John David, Jason, James, and Jana Duggar departed early Tuesday morning for the Bahamas, according to the Duggar family Instagram account. Joy-Anna Duggar’s husband Austin Forsyth was also part of the group, as were family friends Nathan and Lawson Bates.

The group will be helping “after the massive devastation from #HurricaneDorian,” the post explained and will be “working across the affected islands.” 

While some members of the group flew in a plane to Nassau, Nathan Bates traveled via helicopter, landing in Great Harbor Cay. He reported that “thousands are stranded and in desperate need,” according to the Bates family Instagram

The situation in the Bahamas is serious. “The devastation is unprecedented and extensive,” prime minister Hubert Minnis said on Monday. The UN estimates that 61,000 people in the country will need food aid. Many will also be in need of fresh water. As many as 13,000 homes have been destroyed, according to the Red Cross

What is Medic Corps? 

Hurricane Dorian
Satellite image of Hurricane Dorian on September 2, 2019 | NOAA via Getty Images

The Duggars are volunteering with Medic Corps. On Instagram, the organization describes itself as “meeting the needs of people in disaster and crisis situations” and “bringing hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ.” 

The Medic Corps website doesn’t provide much information about the group. In a press release, it says that it is a “non-profit rescue organization” and that it partners with first responders, government entities, hospitals, and other groups in times of crisis. Medic Corps says that their short-term rescue mission in the Bahamas will cost $15,000 to $20,000. People who want to donate to support the relief efforts can do so through the organization’s website. The organization has applied for tax-exempt status but has not yet received it, according to its website. 

The Medic Corps website doesn’t provide any information about who runs the organization, but it is located in Springdale, Arkansas. State business records indicate that John David Duggar incorporated a business called Medic Choppers LLC in early 2019 that is also located in Springdale. He also incorporated a business called Medical Evacuation Disaster Intervention Corps in late 2018 with Nathan Bates, though its registration is not current. It is not clear if the entities are related to Medic Corps. Showbiz Cheat Sheet reached out to Medic Corps for comment but has not heard back.

How you can help with Hurricane Dorian relief 

Hurricane Dorian relief
People gather donations for Hurricane Dorian relief at Christ Episcopal Church in Miami | Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The Duggars aren’t the only ones rushing in to help in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. The Red Cross is ready to assist in the Bahamas with prepositioned relief supplies and volunteers. The international nonprofit is also prepared to help in the U.S. after the storm makes landfall there. You can donate to the Red Cross’s hurricane relief efforts online. People are also being urged to donate blood in anticipation of low donor turnout because of the storm and to cope with a summer blood shortage. 

If you are in the Miami area, you can drop off emergency supplies at the city’s fire stations and certain churches. Water, canned food, can openers, mosquito spray, sunscreen, and diapers are among the items needed. 

World Central Kitchen and celebrity chef José Andrés are already in the Bahamas and are ready to provide food to those affected by the disaster. You can donate online to support their efforts.

Before donating to any disaster relief efforts, make sure to vet the organization. While most people genuinely want to help, scammers sometimes take advantage of people’s generosity. Check out these tips for avoiding disaster relief charity scams.