RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Nearly four dozen college students displaced from the Bahamas landed at Richmond’s airport on Monday night. Hampton University is helping them get back on their feet following Hurricane Dorian.
After landing, the students boarded a bus to head to Hampton. The campus there is welcoming them with open arms, and the pastor of a megachurch is helping make it happen.
“Knowing 70,000 people are homeless (and) over 12,000 homes have been damaged is absolutely unnerving,” Pastor Jamal Bryant said.
It’s why he was moved to act.
"I felt just out of human compassion, the church had to stand up,” he said.
The Atlanta-based megachurch pastor has stood front and center in recent issues making the national spotlight.
"The Bahamas is 92% Christian and when you think about the key of Abaco, (there are) 25 churches on that small island and 24 were destroyed in the hurricane,” he explained.
With the help of church members and the community, he was able to send $50,000 to help with relief.
“Then I thought about the students that were displaced and said ‘we had to step up to the plate’ … Hampton University stepped up and said ‘Pastor Bryant, whatever students you can get off the island, we’ll offer free tuition, room and board for the year,'” Bryant said.
Monday, 93 students from the University of the Bahamas flew to Richmond at no cost to them.
"Then we had to push through for emergency visas, and then the processing of the students who didn’t have passports,” he said.
It’s a labor of love to help shape new beginnings.
"We’ve got vendors that are decorating their dorm rooms for them, people who are donating clothes because they’re coming literally with nothing but hope and prayer. Tonight they begin to see the manifestation of those prayers,” Bryant said.
Some $150,000 have been donated to Hampton University so far to help make all of this possible.
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