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Community : Grand Bahama Last Updated: Dec 2, 2019 - 6:25:19 PM

Bass Pro Shops and Convoy of Hope to host big Christmas party in Grand Bahama
By Ysa Valdes
Dec 2, 2019 - 12:13:21 PM

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From left to right- Front row Karenda Swain-Ministry of Tourism, Karen Carr -Convoy of Hope, Pastor Robert Lockhart- Grand Bahama Christian Council, Lady Rochelle Lockhart- Convoy of Hope, YMCA Rep Back row Gregory Jones - Bahamas Customs, Gaynor Rolle - Convoy of Hope.

The children of Grand Bahama are poised to have a unique Christmas experience which they have never had before.

A three-day Christmas party specifically for the children of Grand Bahama, with all the “bells and whistles” may be unexpected, but it certainly seems fitting to close out a year, which not so long ago, had taken a turn for the worse for the entire island.

Bass Pro Shop, in conjunction with Convoy of Hope will be hosting a special Christmas treat in Freeport from December 16 -19, 2019 at the YMCA playing field. According to organizers, this Christmas event will be the biggest ever to be held in Grand Bahama.

During a recent press conference to announce plans for the event, Johnny Morris, Founder of Bass Pro Shops in the United States, on a phone conference, said that he was excited about the upcoming Christmas party in Grand Bahama.

Left to right Pastor Lockhart, Steve Pulis- Convoy of Hope and Johnnir Morris - CEO Bass Pro

Morris said that as a fisherman and lover of the sport of fishing, he’s spent some time in the Bahamas doing what he loves most. In fact, a local fisherman in the Bahamas, who was also a fisherman, married Johnny and his wife and they named their son after the Bahamian pastor.

“When the storm hit the Bahamas, like many people in the United States, we wanted to see what we could do to help,” said Morris.

“Fortunately in my hometown of Springfield, Missouri, there is this awesome organization called Convoy of Hope, and they are a worldwide leader in disaster relief and they have a great reputation of using gifts and money to make sure that help is distributed where it is needed.”

Mr. Morris said that not only have they donated to the relief efforts in Grand Bahama, but they have also encouraged the customers of Bass Pro and anglers around the world to donate relief supplies to Grand Bahama since Hurricane Dorian blew through the island in early September.

The assistance has been by means of water, food supplies, tents and other hurricane relief supplies.

However, Mr. Morris said that they wanted to do something specifically and especially just for the children of Grand Bahama. That’s when they came up with the idea to host a major Christmas event for the children called “Santa’s Wonderland”.

“We will be creating a fantasy wonderland on the grounds of the YMCA, where we will put up a lot of big tents and we will have thousands of toys for the kids.  To make this event happen, a lot of people in our company have volunteered their time and together, we are working with Convoy of Hope to make this happen,” added Mr. Morris.

“The main thing is to create happy memories mainly for the kids and for the families and the people of Grand Bahama, to bring some happy times.”

Working with the employees of Bass Pro Shops and with volunteers from Convoy of Hope are a number of local residents. In fact, the Office of the Prime Minister is playing a small role in helping with some logistics.

Leading the local team is Pastor Robert Lockhart and his wife Lady Rochelle Lockhart, whom Mr. Morris had an opportunity of meeting during one of his initial tours of the island since the storm. According to Pastor Lockhart, in addition to bringing much joy to the children and residents of Grand Bahama, they are hoping to reach over 8,000 children on the island of Grand Bahama.

“They are looking to give every child on the island a gift and also distribute some 10,000 bags of groceries to adults,” said Pastor Lockhart.

“Every night, for four nights, the goal is to provide a Christmas celebration atmosphere, gifts and food for 4,000 people and then on the last night, it is designed to cater to 8,000 persons.”

Exactly how the four night will work, Pastor Lockhart said that it is really a kid’s event. Invitations will be given to all of the school children on the island and every child is allowed to bring two adults to the event on the YMCA field.

“We want to say thank you to Bass pro Shops and Johnny Morris for the great investment they are going to be making in our children here in Grand Bahama,” said Pastor Lockhart.

“We also want to say thanks to Convoy of Hope who is helping to organize this event.”

Gifts will be given to children in the age range of 3-13, although, according to Pastor Lockhart, that age limit can possibly be expanded to include older kids.

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