**Updated Sep 19 as Hurricane Maria approaches**
100% of these funds are going to VI residents in need.
Wednesday September 6 the US Virgin Islands took a direct hit from hurricane Irma, the largest cat 5 hurricane on record in the Atlantic. Exactly two weeks later on September 20 we are bracing for another cat 5 hurricane, Maria. We need your help NOW.
Organizers of this effort include:
Tara Bouis - PiZZA Pi
Sarah Haynes - Scoops N Brew
Erika Kellerhals - Kellerhals Ferguson Korbin PLLC
Partnered VI Non-Profits include:
My Brother’s Workshop & Cafe
St. Thomas Reformed Church
Unlike the mainland US, we have an already weak infrastructure on our tiny islands so residents will be largely on their own for survival and clean up efforts. Residents were advised to prepare to be without power for 4 - 6 months. After Irma this advisory was updated to 6-9 months without power.
The grocery & hardware stores were empty before Irma. In the time between storms we were able to get a few deliveries into the St. Thomas commercial ports but most of our supplies and evacuations of children, sick & elderly were coordinated between private boats, paid for by GoFundMe campaigns and relied 100% on St. Croix & Puerto Rico's functioning air ports & sea ports. Both of these islands are lined up to take a direct hit from Hurricane Maria. The VI will soon feel disconnected from the rest of the world at a whole new level.
The people of the VI are a tough breed who know how to pull together in times like these- they've been doing it for decades. But two catastrophic hurricanes within two weeks?? This is enough to test even the most fierce spirit.
Reopening the airport and seaports will be top priority for the territory but it will take time - the St Thomas airport was on the verge of reopening before Maira and now we will have to access damage once she goes through.
Our plan will evolve once we know the extent of damage in Puerto Rico & St. Croix as we may no longer have accessible air ports. But the basic plan will be to continue landing shipments of needed supplies to the island :
Water Purification Systems
Non-Perishable Food & Water
Tarps, Staple Guns, Plywood, Sleeping Mats
Once local stores, offices & tradesmen are open and accepting business our efforts will shift to focus on supporting the fragile economy as it restarts. Initial thoughts on this end will be to send money rather than supplies to the soup kitchen at MBW so that they can BUY food from their suppliers on island. Send money rather then supplies to STRC so they can BUY needed items from their community for their community. The islands will soon need cash into the economy if jobs are to be restored.
Tara Bouis will be withdrawing funds from this campaign and dispersing them directly to the organizations buying and loading supplies and eventually will be making donations directly to appropriate organizations within the VI.
Please donate what you can to help support the people of the VI. We will be frugal and put your money to work to get through survival mode and into rebuild mode. "American's Paradise" will be back on it's feet as quick as we can and will welcome you with open arms during your next vacation!
If you would like to contribute something other than money please send me a message and I will do my best to connect you with an appropriate recipient.