HGTV's Bryan Baeumler sets up GoFundMe to support Bahamas after hurricane Dorian

HGTV Canada's Bryan Baeumler has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for hurricane relief in the Bahamas after it was hit by Hurricane Dorian.

Bryan Baeumler was on vacation with his family when he started following the news about the devastation that hurricane Dorian had wrought in the Bahamas.

The star of HGTV Canada’s Island of Bryan was familiar with the country; he and his wife Sarah set an entire show there about restoring Caerula Mar, a beachfront resort that was not affected by the hurricane.

UPDATE: Baeumler’s GoFundMe raises more than $70K for hurricane Dorian victims

Baeumler nevertheless found it “nerve wracking” when he saw footage of the destruction that the storm brought to the popular vacation destination.

“We thought this would be a tropical storm that would spin off into the Atlantic,” he told Global News.

“It very quickly turned into a monster.”

WATCH: Hurricane Dorian leaves trail of destruction in Bahamas

READ MORE: Canadians trapped in the Bahamas by devastating hurricane Dorian

When disasters like this happen, people often want to help — but they’re not sure where to start, Baeumler said.

So he and his family have set up a GoFundMe page with a fundraising goal of $10,000.

All that money will go directly to places most in need on the Bahamas’ Out Islands — regions that Dorian hit hardest.

Baeumler is no stranger to hurricanes.

When hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys in 2017, he helped to assemble a tractor-trailer of necessities such as tools and brought them to the region to help with reconstruction.

There, he learned that when disaster hits, there are already agencies on the ground, ready to help.

READ MORE: Death toll rises to 7 after Dorian rips through Bahamas causing ‘total devastation’

“A lot of times, the knee-jerk reaction let’s jump in the boat and get over there,” Baeumler said.

“But you end up taking valuable resources yourself, the food, water and shelter that people there need.”

The best way for people to help out, he said, is to gather capital and deliver it to the responding agencies, such as the Coast Guard.

WATCH: Bahamian prime minister says Canada has pledged assistance in wake of hurricane Dorian

Money gathered through the GoFundMe campaign will go straight to those islands, and Caerula Mar will work with organizations such as government, the Red Cross and other agencies to help with recovery.

The campaign will last until Sept. 30.

The Baeumler family expects to provide assistance first hand, too.

READ MORE: Satellite photo shows Bahamas half underwater after hurricane Dorian flooding

Bryan, Sarah and their kids spent Tuesday night packing ahead of a flight to Nassau, the Bahamian capital, which they expected to take at lunchtime on Thursday.

Then they’ll head to South Andros.

“I’m sure there will be some chaos.”

“There hasn’t been service into any of the islands from some of the smaller carriers over the last couple of days,” Baeumler said. “Tomorrow’s the first day they’re opening up travel through Nassau.”

The Baeumlers plan on looking at what families need in the way of assistance.

They also have to finish up their hotel project, ahead of a Nov. 1 opening, with a first month and a half already booked up.

“The first thing we have to do is make sure our employees and people there are taken care of, and hopefully we can help the neighbouring islands,” Baeumler said.

The GoFundMe campaign had raised just over $9,300 toward its goal as of Tuesday night.

Island of Bryan airs on HGTV Canada and can be viewed online.

NOTE: HGTV Canada and Global News are owned by Corus Entertainment.

—With files from Erica Vella

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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