Six-year-old Jermaine Bell had been saving up to take his family to Disney World for his seventh birthday. Yet after seeing the devastation Hurricane Dorian had left in its wake, he decided to help those evacuated from coastal areas hit hardest by the storm.
The young boy, who hails from Allendale, South Carolina, took his savings and bought food supplies to feed the evacuees as they made their way through his town. Setting up a hot dog stand on the side of a busy road, he offered free franks, chips, and water to those fleeing the floodwaters along the seaboard.
Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered mandatory evacuations along South Carolina's 190-mile coast and turned all lanes of Interstate 26 into a one-way evacuation route heading west as the storm bears down on the state.
"The people that are traveling to other places, I wanted them to have some food to eat so they can enjoy the ride to the place that they're gonna stay at," Jermaine told CNN affiliate WJBF.
On Monday, Jermaine stood in a makeshift apron at his hotdog stand and served more than 100 evacuees. Since then, he’s continued to feed those seeking refuge from the destruction that Dorian has left in its path. Aretha Grant, the boy’s grandmother, says she watched her grandson pray with a family who was unsure how their home would fare during the storm. "I am very proud," she told CNN. "We knew Jermaine was very special, but we didn't know he was special in this way to be such a giver like this."
Jermaine says he'll continue feeding the hungry all week until evacuees are able to return to their homes. His mother, Lauren, wrote on Facebook that she was astounded by how selfless her son is and that she plans to take him to Disney very soon, according to FOX35.
"He has a very big heart and all-around caring spirit," she wrote on Facebook. "It definitely makes it a birthday to remember for him." Although he’s sacrificed his savings to help those in need, he has no regrets. "I just wanted to be generous," he says.
Hurricane Dorian, a Category 3 storm, has flooded parts of downtown Charleston, South Carolina, with a combination of storm swell and rainfall overflow, resulting in flash-flood warnings, as well as, a storm-surge warning. If Dorian makes landfall in North Carolina, it would be the first Category 3 to do so since Hurricane Fran in 1996.
As its intensified, the storm’s wind field has expanded, with tropical-storm and hurricane-force winds extending across the territory. The Virginia Tidewater and the southern Delmarva Peninsula could also sustain tropical storm conditions by Friday, after which Dorian is expected to dissipate to the northeast.