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Oakland Park Comes Together for the Bahamas

“Heroes are ordinary people that do extraordinary things”.

Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian ripped through the Bahamas late last week completely devastating parts of the island chain.

Hurricane Dorian threatened South Florida for nearly 2 weeks and South Floridians braced themselves for what was reported to be one of the biggest storms in history. As the storm moved westward Bahamas received the brunt of Dorian’s wrath while South Florida was spared. Bahamians were left homeless, shattered and in desperate need of assistance. 

The Heroes Among Us

When Oakland Parkers became aware of Dorian’s wrath there was not a minute’s hesitation. The feeling was unanimous: let’s help the Bahamas! Annie Knott, one of Living in Oakland Park’s team members, contacted me immediately about how we could help. Soon after Annie and I spoke, Rick Melillo from Kiwanis and Barbara Ann from Salon 51 were on social media organizing collection points. 

When asked what inspired her to help, Barbara Ann said it was the golden rule. “Do unto others as you would want done to you. I was broken hearted about the loss of homes, businesses and lives… if there is anything I could to even make a small percentage of help [get there] I wanted to do it“.

Barbara Ann and Rick Melillo dropping of supplies at an Oakland Park Fire Station.

Barbara Ann connected with Channel 10 and her Salon 51 off of Prospect Road became a principal collection point. Annie joined forces with Barbara Ann and trucked over supplies so they could be taken to the victims of Dorian. To help keep the community informed of the on-going effort, Living in Oakland Park published the information for Oakland Parkers that wanted to help and kept an updated  list of collection points online.

Others Join In

No less than 24 hours after this initial push, other Oakland Park business joined in the effort. The Oakland Park Elks Lodge, Allied Kitchen and Bath, FNBCC Bank, PeytonBolin and Giannell Title, The Weil Law Group, Crossfit Oakland Park and all three Oakland Park Fire Stations began accepting donations.

We are doing this for the month and beyond if necessary” remarked Oakland Park City Commissioner Jane Bolin and Partner at PeytonBolin Real Estate Attorneys and Giannell Title. 

Champions World Boxing and Fitness and Little Buddha’s Yoga connected with groups taking supplies to the Bahamas and started collections at their businesses. Lips Restaurant offered a 10% discount for anyone bringing in at least 3 canned goods.

Some of the supplies collected at Salon 51 off Prospect Rd. in Oakland Park.

Donations Come Pouring In

As of Sunday September 8, just a few days after Dorian crushed the Bahamas Oakland Parkers, according to Barbara Ann from Salon 51, the combined effort had already sent 7 truck loads and one car load to the main collection points. 

Supplies are still being collected so if you can help click here to see the list of collection points

A Community of Heroes

Oakland Park is a small, quiet community in the heart of a bustling greater metropolitan area. While it may seem like a sleepy little city to most, there is no doubt our community is made up of ordinary people that do extraordinary things every single day, truly a community of heroes. 

#TogetherWereOP – #OaklandParkStrong – #ProudToBeOP

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About the Author

Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 31 years. In addition to publishing , Désirée publishes three other blogs and has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad.  Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology.  She is currently a licensed Florida Realtor® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism and to helping others with their real estate endeavors through education.  Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.

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* is an independent publication, not affiliated with the City of Oakland Park.

Desiree Avila


Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 33 years. In addition to publishing, Désirée has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida Realtor® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism.

Désirée consistently professionally develops herself and has earned several different professional designations and certifications in real estate including the PSA, e-Pro, AHWD, SRS, ABR, and SFR. She was also awarded the C2EX, Commitment to Excellence award by the National Association for Realtors (NAR). This award is given to Realtors® that distinguish themselves for their commitment to excellence in the real estate industry.

She is esteemed by her real estate colleagues and has consistently received 5 star reviews from her clients. Her philosophy about real estate is that being a Realtor® is a way of teaching and helping people, and in the process a real estate transaction may occur, that is to say her foremost priority is and has always been about helping others.

She is dedicated to her hometown of Oakland Park and works consistently on building and fostering a strong community. She is passionate about photography and loves to read books about history ; the more detail the better! In addition to English, Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.

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