My husband Bobby, our longtime best friend Dave, and I live in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
Bobby's daughter Sarah is also with us, visiting, before Hurricane Irma hit St. Thomas like a lawnmower that chewed up our beautiful island -- Big Time. At the moment, the airport is still closed, so Sarah cannot get home until it reopens. I check flights daily so that we can get her back to San Antonio, Texas as soon as humanly possible.
Fortunately, we are all safe, and we incurred no property damage. AND, we now have running water.
However, we still have no power or internet, so I'm using my phone's data plan to stay in touch with everyone (not cheap).
We did have a small generator (1,000 watt), but it died before its time, so we now must order another one.
Trash pickup is nonexistent at this point (USVI Government has advised that there will be no waste pickup "until further notice"). As a result, we are involuntarily building our own island "Mount Trashmore," as I write this missive to you.
The USVI Government has not yet given us any estimates as to when services will be restored. The banks are still closed, as are most governmental offices and business establishments on island, including the airport.
My husband was a grill cook at Sapphire Bay. Irma blew away the kitchen, so Bobby is now unemployed. As for getting another job right away: Most restaurants either don't have power, don't have a generator, or got blown away, so chances are it'll be a while before Bobby can resume work anywhere. Most businesses are still closed, including the banks and even the airport.
Our best friend Dave recently moved back to St. Thomas after losing his beloved wife Jeanne to Stage IV lung cancer a mere few weeks ago. Dave came home right before Irma hit, so he's in the same boat as Bobby right now as far as work goes.
I run a global compliance consulting, training, expert witness, and tech firm; our focus is on the banking and financial services sector. At the moment, I'm the only one of we four who has the ability to make money, and -- even then -- business is catch-as-catch-can right now because of overall global economic uncertainty on so many levels.
And, to top it all off, Hurricane Maria, currently a Category 3-4 is heading our way -- with a tropical storm right behind it.
I am placing an order with Amazon, having it sent to our CA corporate office, and then having our corporate UPS Customer Service Representative arrange to send our consolidated shipment to St. Thomas via UPS (air).
However, between the purchase amount and shipping costs, this order will eat up most of the cash we have on hand.
Therefore, I humbly seek your assistance to help us defray (partially) the cost of hurricane supplies that we need to keep us going until the island returns to some semblance of normalcy, whenever that is. Nobody knows.
Plus, it is critical that I be able to continue to run my business, uninterrupted, which means I need to make sure I can continue to power my electronics and tether my iPhone to my laptop and tablet.
To give you a better idea of the items we are purchasing and shipping, here's a shortlist of the items we are ordering, as well as the overall estimated purchase price and shipping costs (including any applicable excise tax or import duties):
[Note: The estimates below are based on Amazon pricing.]
1. Portable generator (Honda 3,000-4,000 watts) to power our fridge and basic electronics:
2. Gas & oil & (including at least one 5-gallon gas can): Pricing fluctuates, especially with respect to on-island pricing for gas.
Estimate (as of 9/17/17)
Daily estimate: 15 [running] gallons/day (excluding oil)
3. Oscillating fans we can hook up to the generator (3-4, to stay cool until the power comes back on, whenever that is):
Estimate -- $50 x 4
4. Water filters to make existing city and cistern water soft enough for washing clothes and for drinking (should we run out of bottled water):
GE GXWH40L High Flow Whole Home Filtration System ($67.56/unit x 5)
Brita water filters $16 for pack of 3 x 3
Estimate: $337.50 + 48 = $385.50
5. Portable ice maker (Igloo: Even if we can fully power our fridge, making ice is unlikely; nor is it readily available on island):
6. Portable electronic backup and power storage (to keep things running and so we don't have to take our stuff to the neighbor's house daily because we don't have a generator
7. Popup food covers (to keep the flies and other vermin off our food due to trash pileup):
8. Mosquito repellent & citronella candles (to keep these buggers from draining us dry)
9. Revolution flea treatment for our indoor (4) and outdoor (6) kitties:
Estimate: $175 (12 pack)
10. Batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, to keep our stuff running):
11. Flashlights, set of 4 + lanterns
12. Propane hot plate (to boil water, etc.):
13. Insulated cups (to keep our beverages cool, even after the ice melts)
Estimate: $25 each (4)
14. ***Shipping charges (plus applicable excise and import taxes):
Unknown until Amazon sends the shipment to our CA Global Headquarters, which will then be forwarded to our STT Satellite Office home address.
Estimate: $500 - $750 (UPS Priority)
[Note: Further details to follow, as we obtain more concrete financial information]
Estimated total based on what we know so far:
1. Portable generator: $1,500.00
2. Gas/oil (est $52.50/day, excluding oil x 14 days: $735.00
3. Oscillating fans: $200.00
4. Water filters: $385.50
5. Portable icemaker: $220.00
6. Portable electronic backup/storage: $150.00
7. Popup food covers: $35.00
8. Repellants: $65.00
9. Flea treatment: $175.00
10. Batteries: $100.00
11. Waterproof Flashlights/lanterns: $125.00
12. Propane hot plate: $50
13. Insulated cups/thermos: $100
14. Shipping, excise taxes and import duties): $650
Estimated total: $4,490.00
As you can see, hurricanes are expensive. Also, we have no idea when power and Internet will be restored. We estimate (conservatively) that these facilities will be restored in 30 days -- on our side of the island (in town).
Because we we live on a tiny island, we can only receive supplies by plane or by boat. Even our food, sundries, and store merchandise must be imported.
Many thanks for any financial assistance you can provide to help us weather post Hurricane Irma, possibly Hurricane Maria, plus any other storms which may pass our way over the next month or so.
Husband Robert Bekker
Daughter Sarah Wineholt
BFF David Milner
- Amy Maxwell
- Randall Doctor
- Missy Kimberling
- David & Carla Tweel