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ViequesLove

$1,005,920 of $1.0M goal

Raised by 7,804 people in 14 months
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On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria struck Vieques and caused wide-spread damage and destruction, leaving its residents without water, electricity or communication abilities. Electricity is not expected to return to the island until 2018 and water is not flowing consistently. The hospital has been condemned and the schools are currently not operational. The situation is still dire.

 This fund was started with the intent to provide support in whatever way possible to help the island to recover and to have a more sustainable future.  Our first priority was to communicate with people on the island by sending satellite phones in by a private plane. This communication led to the stark realization that help was not coming fast enough. ViequesLove would need to step into the role of providing immediate relief until federal aid arrived. 


Accomplishments to date:

Communications

• Utilized satellite phones to establish communication between key local entities; hospital, police, airport and team leaders on and off the island.

• Delivered a satellite phone by boat to Culebra.

• Set up call center to allow Vieques residents to call loved ones.

Media and Government Outreach

• Mounted a national media campaign to bring attention to the plight of Vieques. Vieques has been featured on CNN, NBC Nightly, CBS, Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other news outlets across the country and globe.  

• Lobbied key legislators to provide more aid to Vieques and rally against the Jones Act

• Lobbied key government officials to bring more aid to Vieques and recently requested information on the relief and recovery plan from the Federal Coordinating Officer for Puerto Rico.

Supplies/Food/Gasoline

• Filled private planes landing directly on Vieques in the first two weeks after the storm with baby supplies, food, medicine, and other needed supplies.

•  Provided immediate support to police department to fill vehicles with gas

• Shipments of food distributed to Corefi, Departemento de Familia, and Alianza Cristiana y Misionera Vieques, the Boys and Girls Club

• Donation made to Banco de Aliamentos de PR so that they could continue to serve their Vieques and Puerto Rico clients.

• Worked with former NY Governor Pataki, the Governor’s office and other organizations to locate gas and diesel to bring to the island during the first few weeks after the storm.

Life Saving Needs

• Provided the hospital with enough medicine to establish the first free pharmacy at the hospital in 30 years.

• Distributed 73 in-kind solar generators to residents with critical medical needs requiring power

• Lobbied Senator Bennie Thompson for new generator purchase for hospital.

• Leveraged an evacuation triage system with the Red Cross to evacuate many critical needs patients including cancer, dialysis, and other medically fragile patients.

• Funded transportation for 13 dialysis patients from Vieques to San Juan 

•  Purchased additional generators for residents with medical needs

Water

• Purchased and delivered critically needed generator parts for the Water Treatment Plant to prevent sewage back-ups in the streets of Vieques.

Partnerships/Support

• Supported Eva Bolivar, Jose Andres and Chefs of Puerto Rico to provide meals to Vieques

• Supported Claritza Navarro and her M&M Construction team to clean-up and rebuild SunBay to encourage the return of tourism after the water and food situation has stabilized.

• Funded generator technicians to come to the island to evaluate and service the 22 generators running critical infrastructure services, like the water pumps and water sanitation plants.


ViequesLove is partnering with nonprofits across Vieques, as well as the coalition of government agencies, to meet the needs of the people of Vieques. Because ViequesLove was born in crisis and continues to operate in emergency situations, our future is unclear. To fund these efforts and related missions, ViequesLove is using the money donated to this GoFundMe by our overwhelmingly generous donors. Any funds left over after relief operations have ceased will be dedicated to creating a more sustainable future for Vieques.

ViequesLove is under the fiscal sponsorship of COREFI, a registered 501c3 organization, that has been providing relief to at-risk citizens of Vieques, long before Maria struck Vieques. Due to the scope of the project minor administration fees have been necessary. All team members are unpaid volunteers.

We want to give a heartfelt thank you to our donors. You have made many things possible on Vieques and have given many people hope. The love for Vieques is true, steady and most of all, unconditional. We thank you and continue to work for you and our island home.



This fund was created by:
Kelly Thompson, editor and publisher of Vieques Insider Magazine
Szaritza Yamira, FEMA/HUD Disaster Relief Specialist
Sharon Pepin, grant writer and administrator

The fund is administered by:
Kelly Thompson






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ViequesLove is proud to provide $25,000 in materials to repair the Esperanza Malecón that was badly damaged by Hurricane Maria. Large sections of the balustrade were destroyed and areas of brick sidewalk washed away creating dangerous drop offs and gaping holes in the walkway. The repair effort is a collaboration with the municipality who will provide the skilled labor and Claritza Navarro of Navarro Construction to oversee the reconstruction. Claritza has already begun securing the area and materials are ordered. A separate initiative for solar lighting is being researched to make sure the lights would not contribute to light pollution or effect turtle nesting. ViequesLove has committed the funding for materials and the island businesses are rallying to make this a community wide effort to support fundraising efforts for this and other needs on the island, proving once again, that there is nothing more powerful than neighbors helping neighbors.

[The repair to the Malecón is considered a temporary patch needed immediately to ensure the safety of residents and visitors. The standing balustrades are weakened and the metal inside of the concrete corroding. FEMA has committed funding for a study of the area and permanent repair of the Malecón. Our community efforts to ensure safety and beautify the Malecón should in no way affect the permanent reconstruction funded by FEMA. The safety improvements have already begun and we hope to have the Malecón secured by Christmas. ]




ViequesLove se enorgullece de proveer $25,000 en materiales para la reparación del Malecón en la Esperanza, este sufrió danos mayores por el huracán María. Grandes secciones de las barandillas fueron destruidas y áreas de las aceras fueron destruidas por el agua, creando peligrosos declives y grandes hoyos en las aceras usadas por peatones. Este esfuerzo para la reparación se hace en colaboración con el Municipio, el cual proveerá la mano de obra y con Claritza Navarro de Navarro Construction los cuales se encargarán de supervisar el proyecto. Claritza ya comenzó las labores de asegurar el área y ordenar los materiales.
La reparación al Malecón se considera un parcho de necesidad urgente, para asegurar la seguridad de los residentes y visitantes. Las barandillas que permanecen de pie están flojas y el metal por dentro del concreto esta corroído. FEMA se ha comprometido a proveer fondos para un estudio del área y la reconstrucción permanente al Malecón. Nuestros esfuerzos comunitarios para asegurar y embellecer el área del Malecón, en ninguna manera afecta la reconstrucción permanente con fondos de FEMA. Las mejoras de seguridad ya han comenzado y esperamos que estén completadas y aseguradas para las Navidades.
Por separado, se lleva a cabo una investigación sobre la provisión de alumbrado solar, para asegurar que el alumbrado no contribuya a la contaminación lumínica y no afecte el anidamiento de las tortugas. ViequesLove se ha comprometido a proveer los fondos para los materiales y, los negocios a través de la isla se unen, para hacer de esto un grupo comunitario de apoyo al esfuerzo de recaudación de fondos para esta y otras necesidades en la isla. Una vez más probando que no hay nada más poderoso que vecinos ayudando a vecinos.
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It is very difficult to communicate the day to day work of ViequesLove, the amazing effort of the team and the goodwill of the many organizations collaborating with us to help the island recover. Many of you might want to know the work that we have been doing to bring supplies needed to try to prepare. As well as purchasing specific items that are needed or requested, We have worked diligently to develop relationships with organizations off the island who we now call friends and who have generously donated supplies. The ViequesLove team has been distributing these supplies to the municipality, ngos, agencies and churches in order to better prepare. We have received in kind donations from organizations such as the Salvation Army, Puerto Rico Rise Up, Sears, Unidos for Puerto Rico, the Rotary Club of Puerto Rico, and the Coalition de Boricuas en Minnesota. Many other emergency supplies were purchased by ViequesLove. This has been an incredible endeavor. Many know the difficulties in moving supplies to Vieques and how much time is needed to plan, have trucks, personnel, equipment and storage on two different islands and move those trucks on the ferry.

I would like to personally thank Angie Adams and Cheo Diaz Maldonado for working each day in a hot warehouse and delivering these many boxes and pallets to the agencies who can get the supplies to those who need it most and those who are preparing for the storm season.

• 72 survival kits were donated to the Municipality. Each kit included a blanket, tarp, a solar shower, 2 burner stove, cast iron cooking ware, crank radio, silverware, cups and bowls. Toiletries, cots, stoves, mosquito nets, tools, and mattresses were also donated.

• HopeBuilders received cots, a pressure washer, ladders, a shop vac and air mattresses.

• ViequesLove received 40 pallets of MREs donated by Unidos for Puerto Rico. Most of the food was donated to Corefi and distributed to churches and neighborhoods to help prepare. Adult diapers and mattresses were also donated to Corefi.

• ViequesReady received food, stoves, air mattresses, and batteries.

• Chainsaws, saws, and batteries were delivered to OMME.

• Mission Medical International received mattresses for the dorm on Vieques for traveling doctors. They also received medical supplies syringes, eye care, bandages, medical gowns and socks, and orthopedic equipment.

• Medical supplies were also donated to visiting nurses and Dept. of Familia.

• Nurses from hospice received sheets and vein finders for work with the elderly.

• In total ViequesLove distributed 145 new mattresses to those in need due to mold or water damage.

• Department of Familia received baby formula and food, adult and baby diapers, sheets, personal care kits, mosquito nets, soap and dental supplies

• Dr. Perez, Figueroa, and Rivera received nebulizers. Orthopedic and IV supplies were also donated to Dr. Figueroa.

• The hospital received 6 pallets of medical supplies

• VER (Cancer Center) received sheets, diapers, water, and toiletries.

• Centro de Envengeciente (elderly center) received food, ensure, adult diapers and toiletry kits.

• The Methodist Church in Esperanza received cots, water and toiletries for their volunteer housing.

ViequesLove also supported the Vieques schools by providing paint, soap, cleaning supplies, first aid supplies and paper products to each school. A generator was given to each school as a backup for an office or classroom. Five of these generators were generously donated to ViequesLove by Puerto Rico Rise Up. Screens and cisterns were put into some of the schools and our efforts are ongoing. There will be another post soon with more information about an exciting ViequesLove initiative for the schools. Stay tuned!

Thank you for reading our posts and following our work on Vieques. We continue to work for the island and thank you, our donors, for enabling us to make a difference.

Para español, visite nuestra pagina de facebook.
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We are so proud of this collaborative initiative with ViequesLove, Radio Vieques, William Patterson University and technical direction from Alberic Medina. Today was the first KP4 amateur radio class held at the Fort providing instruction to 43 students. ViequesLove purchased almost $8,000 of radio equipment and the books for each student in the course. The proceeds from the book purchase will go to St. Jude Hospital in San Juan.
K4 handsets will be provided to agencies,individuals and organizations in isolated sectors with two bases - Northside at the Fort and Southside at the Conservation and Historical Trust in Esperanza. Two mobile units were also purchased.

Currently storm 9L forming in the Atlantic is giving us either pause or panic but we can trust in the fact that we will not be without communication again. This HAM Radio project is a great step for Vieques preparedness. Thank you donors, we could not have done this without your support!
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Vieques. Ready When You Are.

We’re excited to announce that Lewis Communications, an advertising and digital strategy agency, is donating hundreds of hours of their time and expertise to create an advertising and digital marketing campaign, #ViequesReadyWhenYouAre, specifically designed to attract tourists back to Vieques after the storm

This labor of love started with a print campaign funded by ViequesLove designed to reach summer travelers to Provincetown and other New England destinations who often return to Vieques in the wintertime. Stephen Curry, a creative director at Lewis Communications, www.lewiscommunications.com, and longtime friend of Vieques, reached out to ViequesLove offering his time and expertise to help visitors return.

Stephen was one of the first tourists to return after the storm last December and his social media posts got thousands of views the first weekend.

The creative goodwill caught on like wildfire. When the owners of Lewis Communications saw Stephen’s passion for the island, they agreed to devote additional money and people to the effort. The print ads led to the creation of a new website, www.viequesreadywhenyouare.com, which serves as a simple “front door” to the island, with links to other Vieques websites for more complete information. The website was created by Lewis at no charge, as a gift to the people of Vieques. Collaboration and photography from Vieques Insider helped make this beautiful site possible.

The site is free of charge (never a cost to businesses for inclusion or for consumers to view) and serves as a portal for tourists to find additional information sources about the island.

The Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ViequesReadyWhenYouAre, celebrates Vieques businesses and other compelling content will be shared.

Lewis had three film crews on island this past weekend, gathering additional photography and footage for use in advertising and digital content, and will be making available a large library of photos and video to any business on the island. All materials will be shared and made available to anyone at no charge, as long as photo credit is given and it is being used to promote Vieques.

People from around the world have offered their passion, connections and expertise to Vieques and ViequesLove which has increased the momentum of the recovery of the island. Lewis Communications is the latest example of that but there are many others as well. You are a crucial part of these efforts and can help by sharing these campaigns and promoting the goodwill happening here.

There is still a long road ahead. But the island is ready for you to return and stay for a week, a month or a lifetime. Become a part of the movement for a better tomorrow, experience the pride of the people who have lifted the island up and made it ready for you, and show your support to your island neighbors. If you experience any inconveniences or interruptions of daily comfort for a few hours during your visit, just think of it as a brief and welcomed reminder to be grateful everyday.

There will be much more to come over the next few months. As we prepare for this winter, we encourage you to share the new website, use the hashtag #ViequesReadyWhenYouAre, and we welcome any updated listings you have for the site or suggestions for Facebook posts. We’re thrilled about their efforts and can’t wait to share more of the campaign with you.


Spanish

Nos complacemos en anunciar que la compañía de comunicación Lewis, una agencia de publicidad y anuncios de estrategias digitales, está donando
cientos de horas de su tiempo y experiencia para crear una campaña de mercadeo digital y anuncios. #ViequesReadyWhenYouAre (ViequesListoCuandoTuLoEstes), específicamente diseñada para atraer turistas a Vieques después de la tormenta.

Esta labor de amor comenzó con una campaña escrita fundada por ViequesLove, diseñada para llegar a los turistas de invierno, provenientes de Provincetown y Nueva Inglaterra (New England), los cuales regresan a Vieques a menudo durante el invierno.

Stephen Curry, director creativo de Comunicaciones Lewis,
www.lewiscommunications.com, y amigo de antaño de Vieques, hizo un acercamiento a ViequesLove, para ofrecer su tiempo y experiencia para ayudar en atraer de nuevo a los visitantes.

Stephen fue uno de los primeros turistas en regresar después de la tormenta, en diciembre pasado y sus escritos en las redes sociales recibieron miles de visitas durante el primer fin de semana.

Esta buena voluntad cogió auge de manera rápida. Cuando los dueños de Comunicación Lewis, vieron la pasión de Stephen por la isla, acordaron dedicar personas y dinero adicional a este esfuerzo. La publicidad impresa los llevó a crear un sitio nuevo en la red electrónica,
www.viequesreadywhenyouare.com
la cual sirve como una “entrada principal” sencilla a la isla, con acceso a otros sitios en la red electrónica, para información más completa sobre Vieques. Este sitio en la red fue creado libre de costo por Lewis, como regalo a la gente de Vieques. La colaboración y fotografía de Vieques Insider contribuyeron a la creación de este sitio bello en la red.

Este sitio en la red es gratuito, (nunca se le cobrará a los negocios que quieran incluir su información para los consumidores poder ver) y sirve como portal para los turistas que deseen obtener recursos informativos adicionales sobre la isla.

La pagina en Facebook,
www.facebook.com/ViequesReady
WhenYouAre
celebra los comercios y otra información de contenido informativo que será compartido.

Lewis tenia tres equipos de filmación en la isla este pasado fin de semana, recopilando fotografías y filmaciones adicionales para uso en la publicidad y contenido digital, ademas estarán haciendo disponible una biblioteca de fotos y vídeos a cualquier negocio en la isla. Todos los materiales serán compartidos libre de costo y disponibles a todos, siempre y cuando se le dé crédito al autor de la foto y sean utilizados para promover a Vieques.

Personas de alrededor del mundo han ofrecido su pasión, conexiones y experiencia a Vieques y ViequesLove, esto ha incrementado el impulso de la recuperación de la isla. Comunicación Lewis es el último ejemplo de esto y de que hay muchos otros también. Tu eres una parte crucial de estos esfuerzos y puedes ayudar compartiendo estas campañas y promoviendo la buena voluntad que está ocurriendo aquí.

El camino a llegar, todavía es largo, pero la isla está preparada para tu regreso y estadía de una semana, un mes o toda tu vida.

Conviértete en parte del movimiento para un mejor mañana, experimenta el orgullo de la gente que ha levantado la isla y la ha preparado para ti y demuestra tu apoyo por las islas vecinas. Si tu tienes algún inconveniente u interrupción de tu confort diario por algunas horas, durante tu visita, piensa en ello como un breve y bienvenido recordatorio de ser agradecido todos los días.

Tendremos mucho más durante los próximos meses, mientras nos preparamos para la estación de invierno. Los animamos a compartir el sitio web utilizando el “hashtag” #ViequesReadyWhenYouAre, y le damos la bienvenida a los listados revisados que ustedes tengan para el sitio web y sus sugerencias para las publicaciones en Facebook.

Estamos emocionados con sus esfuerzos y ansiosos de compartir con ustedes más sobre esta campaña.
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$1,005,920 of $1.0M goal

Raised by 7,804 people in 14 months
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