Bahamian Evacuees Were Welcomed to Driftwood in Boynton Beach for a Homemade Sunday Dinner
by Darien Davies
Driftwood restaurant owners, Jimmy Everett and Illia Gonzalez, opened their hearts and their kitchen in an effort to feed the stomachs and souls of displaced Bahamians. They closed their restaurant on Sunday, October 6 and welcomed local chefs and local humanitarians to prepare a traditional Sunday dinner for more than 100 Bahamian evacuees who are living in Florida after Hurricane Dorian. Sandy Collier, who is originally from the Behamas and the owner of Hey Sandy! PR, worked with the Driftwood team and friends to prepare the meal.
“I’m devastated by the destruction of my homeland. In any home on a Sunday in The Bahamas, you can get a plate of food from family, friends and even strangers,” Collier said. “Sunday dinners are big in The Bahamas. I wanted the hurricane victims here to be able to enjoy an authentic Bahamian meal. Many of them are living in hotels and don’t have a place to prepare a typical Bahamian dish for their families.”
Collier and her team included friend Jerusha Terry, who is also from The Bahamas and a school teacher in Palm Beach County; Chef Christina Dixion-Wells, the owner of Mini Meals on Wheels; and Mr. Brandon, The Conch Man, a Bahamian who owns Funky Fritters here in Palm Beach County. They were busy in the kitchen and were able to make Bahamian peas and rice, Bahamian conch and rice, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, potato salad, crab salad, conch salad, conch fritters, baked chicken, grouper fingers, steamed conch, steamed chicken, baked chicken, BBQ chicken and curry chicken. Chef Everett even learned how to make conch salad and Bahamian macaroni and cheese.
“It was so generous and kind of Chef Jimmy and his wife Illia to close down their restaurant for the day and open it to all of us,’ Collier said. “His staff was phenomenal, waiting on tables, making cocktails and making everyone feel at home.”
The dinner was a welcoming Sunday event where evacuees were able to enjoy a taste of home and spend time together. Kids drew with chalk while everyone enjoyed an island band, ASK JIMMY, who donated their time. Local companies that sponsored the event included Hey Sandy! PR and Communications, Driftwood, Vanilla Ice, Sharon DiPietro, Polar Electric and The Buzz Agency.
2005 Federal Highway, Boynton Beach