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ViequesLove

$1,001,250 of $1.0M goal

Raised by 7,752 people in 11 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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Our first community HAM Radio meeting took place today at the Fort today and was an enormous success. This project is a collaboration by ViequesLove, Radio Vieques And William Patterson University with technical direction from Viequense Alberic Medina to create a Vieques Emergency Communications team. Participants from many agencies, police officers, nurses, municipal government personnel, FWS, NGOs, and interested community members were there. ViequesLove has offered to sponsor all that attended today’s meeting to take the course which is a series of four classes and an exam. HAM Radio will provide communication throughout the island and with the rest of the world during emergencies. It will also connect the island and agencies on a daily basis to communicate with each other when cell device is weak or not ideal. With your generous donations ViequesLove was able to provide 25 handheld transceivers, 3 antennas, 3 mobile units, 2 base stations, programming software, and aproximately 45 course books and certification fees! Thank you! You have connected Vieques!
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ViequesLove is thrilled to announce monetary support of HopeBuilders, a non profit organization formed to rebuild homes and repair roofs that were damaged by Hurricane Maria.

To date HopeBuilders has repaired 34 roofs that were destroyed or damaged and they have a list of almost 300 more to repair. Vickie Michaud started HopeBuilders after seeing the devastation and knowing that her Viequense friends would be suffering. Having experience in the construction business she knew that she could help. I've have been blessed to become friends with Vickie over the last ten months and supporting her through your ViequesLove donations to help rebuild lives on the island is an honor and a privilege. We have also provided some logistical support and materials to her team who also should be very proud to be working with an organization that is helping their family and friends. The support from ViequesLove will allow HopeBuilders to hire two more full time local workers for 6 months supporting jobs for Viequenses and securing homes faster. To read more about HopeBuilders go to https://www.hopebuildersinc.org/letter_from_our_founder
Almost a year later and Vieques still needs your support and attention. Much of the help coming to Puerto Rico and many of the materials and supplies never make it to Vieques. Logistical challenges exist where they don't elsewhere making it more difficult for all organizations working here on the island trying to make a difference. Vieques is often overlooked and has no voice. You can become a voice for Vieques. Share all of the information from all of the non profits and organizations that are working for a better tomorrow for Vieques. Create awareness of the island and if you have been here before, spread the word that Vieques is ready for tourists. The island has lifted itself out of the rubble and organizations like ViequesLove, HopeBuilders and many others are persevering and making profound change. Share our posts and updates on your timeline so that more people can know what this little island, the resiliency of the people and the organizations here have done. Vieques se Levanta. Vieques will Rise.

Kelly Thompson, ViequesLove


ViequesLove se complace en anunciar el apoyo monetario de HopeBuilders, una organización sin fines de lucro formada para reconstruir casas y reparar techos que fueron dañados por el huracán María.

Hasta la fecha, HopeBuilders ha reparado 34 techos que fueron destruidos o dañados y tienen una lista de casi 300 más para reparar. Vickie Michaud comenzó HopeBuilders después de ver la devastación y saber que sus amigos viequense estarían sufriendo. Al tener experiencia en el negocio de la construcción, sabía que podía ayudar. He sido bendecido para hacerme amigo de Vickie en los últimos diez meses y apoyarla a través de sus donaciones ViequesLove para ayudar a reconstruir vidas en la isla es un honor y un privilegio. También hemos brindado apoyo y materiales logísticos a su equipo, quienes también deberían estar muy orgullosos de trabajar con una organización que está ayudando a sus familiares y amigos. El apoyo de ViequesLove permitirá a HopeBuilders contratar a otros dos trabajadores locales de tiempo completo durante 6 meses y hogares seguros más rápido. Para leer más acerca de HopeBuilders vaya ahttps: //www.hopebuildersinc.org/letter_from_our_founder
Casi un año después y Vieques aún necesita su apoyo y atención. Mucha de la ayuda que llega a Puerto Rico y muchos de los materiales y suministros nunca llegan a Vieques. Los desafíos logísticos existen donde no lo hacen en otras partes, lo que hace que sea más difícil para todas las organizaciones que trabajan aquí en la isla tratar de hacer una diferencia. Vieques a menudo se pasa por alto y no tiene voz. Puedes convertirte en una voz para Vieques. Comparta toda la información de todas las organizaciones sin fines de lucro y las organizaciones que están trabajando para un futuro mejor para Vieques. Crea conciencia de la isla y si has estado aquí antes, corre la voz de que Vieques está listo para los turistas. La isla se ha levantado de entre los escombros y organizaciones como ViequesLove, HopeBuilders y muchos otros son perseverantes y hacen cambios profundos. Comparta nuestras publicaciones y actualizaciones en su línea de tiempo para que más personas puedan saber lo que esta pequeña isla, la capacidad de recuperación de las personas y las organizaciones aquí han hecho. Vieques se Levanta. Vieques will rise.

Kelly Thompson, ViequesLove
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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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$1,001,250 of $1.0M goal

Raised by 7,752 people in 11 months
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