ST CROIX HURRICANE RELIEF

My daughter, Tamla is a US citizen living on the island of St Croix. She operates a small restaurant called The Red Couch Cafe. On Tuesday evening, she and two of her friends, two dogs and a cat were hunkered down in a concrete block building as category 5 hurricane Maria barreled across the southern shore of the island. St Croix is a small narrow island so there was no escaping the storm. The entire island lost power but they had a gas powered generator and she had stocked up on food and water. We texted back and forth all night. She was frightened, but I was too. It's a helpless feeling for a mother. She said that the sound was deafening as though a train was on top of the building. But, it continued to roar for 4 or 5 hours straight. She and her friends all huddled together praying that the roof wouldn't collapse in on them. The house looked like it was breathing as the walls bowed in and out. The glasses in the cupboard were shaking. Everything was shaking. When the eye of the storm approached, the pressure in their ears became unbearable. My daughter got a horrible headache and her friend was sick to her stomach. I would check the radar and tell her where the storm was because her internet service was spotty and still is. By about 4am it was clearly off the coast and headed toward Puerto Rico. I told her to get some sleep and that I was going to also. She said that the wind and rain was still heavy but I reassured her that she was feeling the outer bands of the storm and things would start improving. The next day she was able to go out and assess the situation. Her texts to me described a war zone not a beautiful little island. She appeared to be in shock. The reality hadn't set in. She returned to the house that she had been living in only to find mosquitoes and nearly everything she owned destroyed by water. Her cafe was intact but the building that it is in is severely flooded and has structural problems too. It's unlikely to be repaired for several months. The top of her jeep was ripped off and the interior destroyed but amazingly it still runs. So without a job or clothes or a home, she decided to focus on helping other people. She has been driving around in her "open air" jeep, delivering food and water to people as well as making lists of people to call to let them know that their loved ones are safe but have no way to contact them. She is very concerned that people on the mainland will forget about St Croix because it's so small. The people there are in DESPERATE need of EVERYTHING from toothpaste to trucks. The airport is closed, the hospital was destroyed and there are no banks or ATM's. Fuel is $5 a gallon if you can find any. She is committed to helping the people of St Croix as much as she can and has asked me to see what I could do on this end. If you are concerned about this fund raiser, I welcome you to look up the Red Couch Cafe on Beeston Hill in St Croix. My daughter is chef Tamla. She is originally from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Please help her so that she can help others. Show some island love. If you can't donate then your prayers are appreciated too. Thank You!
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Organizer

Susan O'Brien Purcell 
Organizer
Frederiksted, United States Virgin Islands
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