Thank You on behalf of all of #Dominica,
Update: Sep. 30, 2017: Dominica can now receive personal and community relief shipments from individuals outside of Dominica, beyond the neighboring islands. This is exciting news as we continue to collect material donations for this effort to #RestoreAndRebuildDominica! We have partnered with Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown, my church, to make a bigger impact by hosting an onsite collections of goods (foodstuffs, toiletries, and clothing).
Update: Sep. 23, 2017: My siblings are "safe," as are the extended members of my family. Situation is beyond precarious in Dominica as of now. The island remains without power and 90% of homes and buildings are without roofs. Stores are depleted of food as there has been looting. Many are going hungry and are becoming desperate including children, pregnant women, the ill and elderly.
My name is Avril Somerville and I live in Glenside Pennsylvania. I am the owner of this campaign. I was born in the Commonwealth of Dominica and have several family members in Dominica.
Devastated by Category 5 Hurricane Maria, on September 18 - September 19, Dominica (not to be confused with Dominican Republic which is Spanish-speaking and closer to Haiti) remains unknown to much of the US and as a result, continues to receive far less US media coverage than needed at a critical and desperate time. While I was assured that my family members (parent, siblings, uncles, aunts, and numerous cousins) are alive, I have only recently been able to receive WhatsApp and FB Messenger communications from some of them.
Dominica is the land of my birth. In its town of Goodwill (not too far from its capital of Roseau) in 1979, along with my grandmother and twin sister, I remained huddled beneath our modest home during Hurricane David. Until now, Hurricane David was the deadliest hurricane to hit Dominica. With winds of up to 200 mph, Hurricane David proved to be no match for Hurricane Maria. Still, despite the punishing and merciless winds and rains of Hurricane David, we held on to our faith and to the undying belief that God would send us what we would need.
We prayed that the storm would awaken in the rest of the world a solidarity so great, that we would be rescued and reinvigorated with hope. God did answer our prayers! We were visibly restored by His merciful hand, demonstrated through the compassion of others . We emerged alive, though not unscathed.
Today, I am part of the "rest of the world." I am part of that global community to which Dominica now looks for a face of compassion and a symbol of hope. My prayer is that you join me in my effort to help my family and fellow Dominicans rescue each other and ultimately rebuild. In your own way, where you are, and with what you can, I ask that you consider making a gift for an urgent cause.
All monies raised will be used toward the ongoing costs of shipping collected supplies directly to Dominica. (Additional supplies - foodstuffs and building supplies - will be purchased with any remaining funds for family members and their immediate neighbors in Dominica who were directly impacted by Hurricane Maria.) Documentation will also be provided as well as periodic updates when goods have left for Dominica.
The task of distribution of these relief supplies will be from two churches on the ground in Dominica with which our families are affiliated - Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Giraudel and Christian Union Mission Church in Goodwill.
It will take all of the resources and assistance available to get Dominica through this storm and the series of life "storms" that Dominicans will undoubtedly experience after Maria. Thank you in advance for your giving!
For more information on the devastation in Dominica, visit New York Times or CNN . For the latest video from Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit appealing to the United Nations, click here .
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