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ViequesLove

$997,675 of $1.0M goal

Raised by 7,733 people in 10 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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The remnants of Beryl will bring a lot of rain and wind to Vieques. Grateful that it has been downgraded, we continue to worry about the Vieques residents whose lives and homes are still very affected by rain storms and for those who are still suffering. ViequesLove is doing everything that we can to collaborate with the organizations and agencies to help prepare for the hurricane season and get help to those in need.

Here are some of the things that your donations have done in the past few months:

ViequesLove transported donations from Salvation Army, Unidos de Puerto Rico, and The Coalicion de Boricuas en Minnesota of canned food, MREs, water, cat and dog food, camp stoves, mattresses, mosquito nets, camping/survival gear, diapers, batteries, medical supplies, clothing and more. We are taking inventory of the donations and will distribute them strategically to other organizations in order to prepare across the island. Chainsaws have been given to the Emergency management team. The hospital has received 6 pallets of medical supplies and once absorbed will receive 11 more.

ViequesLove loaned two generators as backup to the Vieques refuge set up on Sunday at the Maria Simmons school.

102 mattresses have been distributed to those who needed to replace moldy mattresses. 40 of these were purchased by ViequesLove and the others were a donation from Sears.

ViequesLove has recharged satellite phones in advance of Tropical Storm Beryl and will distribute to key individuals and agencies if necessary.

ViequesLove partnered with William Patterson University and RadioVieques to purchase radio equipment and facilitate the licensing of 25 HAM Radio Operators to create an additional communications network on the island, so that in the event of a communications blackout, there is still a link to the outside world. HAM Radio allowed ViequesLove to coordinate medical evacuations post-Hurricane Maria and was an invaluable resource.

On June 20th, ViequesLove held a very productive gathering of community groups who are working on hurricane recuperation and emergency preparedness. It was the beginning of forming an alliance of working groups on Vieques, which can focus on particular topics related to hurricane preparedness. Another meeting is planned to discuss health needs on Vieques.

ViequesLove thanks you for your support as we continue to work for a better tomorrow for Vieques!
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ViequesLove is in preparation mode. The last few months have been very busy coordinating logistics to accept donations of supplies from organizations that care about Vieques. Transporting supplies to Vieques can be a daunting task which requires an incredible amount of work to get the pallets to Puerto Rico, storage on both islands, ferry tickets for the trucks, forklifts at the pick up location as well as the drop off location on Vieques, pallet jacks and the people to help. It can literally take months of coordination. Once the supplies are in Puerto Rico the job of getting them to Vieques can sometimes be the bigger obstacle. It requires going to the ferry terminal daily to try to get tickets, The trucks can leave on the 6am ferry from Vieques to Fajardo and not be able to return until sometimes midnight or even days later. Thanks to Aurelio Rosa and his amazing team of help (thank you Alex!), and Felix Acevedo (Cholo) all things are possible!

ViequesLove received a donation of 40 pallets of MREs from Unidos Puerto Rico. Corefi has started to distribute to those most in need and we will get them to as many organizations as possible around the island who can use them immediately.

The Salvation Army has reached out to ViequesLove for help with logistics to coordinate donations to the schools on Vieques and has also donated survival gear to prepare for the upcoming season. Tarps, coleman camping stoves, batteries, solar showers, cots, batteries, blankets, crank flashlights and more!

The Coalicion de Boricuas en Minnesota made an incredible donation to ViequesLove of medical supplies, dog and cat food, toiletries, food, batteries, diapers, clothing, and much more! We are in the process of taking inventory and distributing to those in need or that have the storage space for readiness supplies. The OMME (Emergency Management) has received chainsaws from this donation and the Vieques Humane Society received a pallet of dog and cat food. The hospital will received aprox. 16 pallets of medical supplies.

We appreciate the donations from all of the groups and you, the donors, for making it possible to ship and move these supplies onto Vieques... which is no easy task! Hundreds of thousands of dollars in supplies have been moved to Vieques for the cost of the shipping and transport.

Thank you for helping Vieques prepare! We continue to ask for your support and attention to Vieques needs. Please reach out to us with questions or comments.
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ViequesLove would like to thank our family of donors who made the Vieques HAM Radio Project possible. A dynamic collaboration between RadioVieques, ViequesLove, Alberic Medina, and William Patterson University will ensure that Vieques will be prepared with communication equipment and will not be cut off from the outside world again. Your donations allowed us to purchase radio equipment that will be strategically placed in key locations on the island and enable 25 people to take a HAM Radio certification course at the end of July. After Hurricane Maria, Alberic Medina ,a local hero, had come to the aide of the island. Having been a certified radio operator for years he had his own equipment here on Vieques. Alberic worked with Matt Mullins, a student from William Patterson University to put the list of necessary equipment together. Thank you to Matt and Alberic as well as Robert Rabin of RadioVieques and Lori Ramos of William Patterson University. It's projects like these that will make a more resilient Vieques and this kind of creative collaboration that forges a path to a better tomorrow. We thank you for your donations that made this possible!
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ViequesLove family we would like to share this news with you. Not many people know that Vieques has a world-class Judo program. This year there are two female athletes from Isla Nena Judo Club that are competing in the world circuit to qualify for the youth Olympics. After facing many hardships this year, losing their club building and most of their equipment, the athletes, parents and coach persevere. They raise money to travel to the competitions year round by selling tee shirts and concessions at sporting events. But it is a struggle. Please help by sharing this video for the parents of the athletes. The trip to Argentina is on the 4th of July. Lets work together to get them there to represent the resiliency and strength of Vieques youth! Please go to their page to read more.
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/

No mucha gente sabe que Vieques tiene un programa de Judo de clase mundial. Este año hay dos atletas de Isla Nena Judo Club que compiten en el circuito mundial para clasificarse para las Olimpiadas juveniles. Después de enfrentar muchas dificultades este año, perder la construcción de su club y la mayoría de sus equipos, los atletas, los padres y el entrenador perservere. Recaudan dinero para viajar a las competiciones durante todo el año vendiendo camisetas y concesiones en eventos deportivos. Pero es una lucha. Por favor, ayuda compartiendo este video para los padres de los atletas. El viaje a Argentina es el 4 de julio. Trabajemos juntos para lograr que representen la resistencia y la fuerza de la juventud de Vieques.
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/
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Raised by 7,733 people in 10 months
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