'How close to home it hit for us': P.E.I. restaurant gives back to Bahamas after Dorian

A P.E.I. restaurant held a fundraiser Thursday night for those impacted by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.

Fishbones Oyster Bar and Grill wanted to raise money and collect donations for the Bahamas because the cause hit close to home: three of its staff members are from the Caribbean nation.

Rajohn Emmanuel moved to P.E.I. to attend culinary school at Holland College and is originally from Nassau. He works as a line cook at Fishbones and said it was difficult to watch Dorian's destruction.

"It's always a scary moment," he said. "But then, after the storm, it was … devastating how many people went missing, how many people lost their lives and their homes."

Family lost home, jobs

Emmanuel's parents and eight siblings still live in Nassau. He said despite his family losing their home and some of his siblings losing their jobs — they're OK.

"It'll be kind of hard on them to recuperate," he said.

"But after a few months they should be able to … get back on their feet."

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Cobey Adams, head chef at Fishbones, said the restaurant was proud to be part of the relief effort.

"I saw how close to home it hit for us and can definitely sense the necessity and the need for this," said Adams.

'You just want to reach out and help'

Adams said at least 10 local businesses donated to the restaurant in the form of products or gift cards that were auctioned off. Fishbones also served Bahamian-themed dishes. The proceeds went to a Go Fund Me page to help the relief effort.

"It's tough for us to have the means or the platform to do such a thing," said Adams. "But to have an entire community come together to be apart of this effort has been an absolute treat."

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Zack Gaudet and Anam Hamza were at the restaurant for the fundraiser and pointed to the difference in Dorian's impact on P.E.I. versus the Bahamas.

"We don't really see the amount of devastation here as they did there," said Gaudet.

"I mean, we lost power for a few days … You just want to reach out and help."

Hamza said it was important to support the cause because she has family in the Bahamas.

"My sister-in-law's mother and father-in-law lost their whole garage worth of things, and the school where my sister's mother-in-law works was completely flooded so they lost everything in the school unfortunately," Hamza said.

"They're just trying to rebuild."

'We're both islands'

Jonique Munroe works at Fishbones as a prep cook and is also from Nassau.

She said the support from her workplace was amazing.

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"I didn't know that us Bahamians could have such a big impact on the P.E.I. community," said Munroe.

"Because we're both islands, right, so we've got to work together and support as much as we can."

Emmanuel said he hopes to be going home in November to see his family. He echoed Munroe's feelings about their employer stepping up to support them. 

"It's a real nice feeling, it shows a lot of love from staff. Everyone who is supporting us, it shows that we're not alone."

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