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ViequesLove

$1,020,400 of $1.0M goal

Raised by 7,881 people in 22 months
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On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria struck Vieques, Puerto Rico and caused wide-spread damage and destruction, leaving its residents without water, electricity or communication abilities. ViequesLove was formed on the night of the Hurricane 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. Our team first tackled the job of getting a private plane to directly land on Vieques full of supplies and satellite phones to establish communication on and off the island. We formed a team working round the clock in the states and connected to our friends on the island who were doing the same and became our team on the island. But it was you, our donors, who enabled us to get help to the island right away and avert catastrophe.

Won’t you unite with us as we tackle the next phase of work? It will be slower and less dramatic, but essential to the long-term health of this little Caribbean island. In addition, building a 21st century infrastructure will produce a showcase for communities everywhere that are interested in energy independence, ecological preservation, adventure tourism, sustainable economic development, networked education, and a synergistic health-care delivery system. ViequesLove is committed to these ends. Please join us by donating now! Let us put your donation to work for our future.

Please let us put your donation to work for Vieques. Donate here through gofundme or send check to:
ViequesLove, po box 1108, Vieques, PR 00765.

ViequesLove is a 501c3 tax-exempt organization. EIN #82-4435322 As of 11/1/18, ViequesLove began managing money from this GoFundMe directly as a 501(c)(3).  We'll be forever grateful to our former fiscal sponsor COREFI for helping us administer funds from this campaign before that date.

Here is a sampling of our accomplishments to date:


Restored Hope.
ViequesLove landed a plane directly on Vieques five days after Hurricane Maria had passed, bringing satellite phones, cash and supplies. The up-link phones allowed residents to know that they were not forgotten, to call loved ones, and enabled first responders to communicate with each other and the outside world. Until that time, Vieques had been completely cut off from all forms of communication, both internally and externally.

Provided a Way.
Became the connecting link to citizens, press, medical assistance, elected officials, government agencies and groups wanting to help. The communication provided by the satellite phones instantly made ViequesLove the crucial link to Vieques when no other form of communication was possible enabling the long distance “handshake’ with those hands extended to help and the hands on Vieques ready to receive, coordinate and distribute. This net of donors across the states provided the backbone of our logistical challenge—while the sat phones and team on-island were the arms and legs making coordinating and receiving possible. ViequesLove also became a partner to agencies responsible for island infrastructure and could immediately acquire emergency pumps, parts, fuel and technicians for repairs to avoid potential disasters and health hazards. ViequesLove provided logistical and financial support to move over a million dollars of in -kind donations to the island and continues to be a friend to many of organizations assisting Vieques.

Saved lives.
Stocked the hospital with medicine and supplies by landing a plane nine days after the storm. Evacuated 33 people, flew dialysis and cancer patients to Puerto Rico for treatment, provided nebulizers and insulin bags for asthmatics and diabetics and purchased oxygen machines and other medical equipment for those in need. Distributed approximately 190 generators to schools, community organizations and families with critical needs and medical equipment requiring power. Seventy-five of these were donated solar generators.

Helped Prevent Disaster.
Provided cash in what had instantly become – with no electricity -- an “all cash” economy. ViequesLove paid for fuel for police and emergency vehicles, for generators at the hospital, bought critical lifesaving medicine and ice for diabetics and the elderly center. Partnered with Generation Gives to provide satellite internet to restore ATM and food stamp service.

Provided critical needs.
ViequesLove was able to provide critical needs that were not being sent by other organizations effectively while not overlapping purchases. Mattresses, wheelchairs, vein finders, cisterns, nebulizers, insulin bags, mosquito nets, oxygen machines, solar radios, solar panels and generators are just a few of the items provided.
Established Collaborative preparedness programs.
ViequesLove has established a new net of communication programs to ensure the connection for the future. Along with a satellite phone network, ViequesLove has partnered with other organizations to create a HAM radio network allowing communication off-island as well as a web of VHF radios to connect agencies, individuals and fishermen (first able to respond) strategically over the island.

Works for a better tomorrow.
ViequesLove has been financially supporting many projects rebuilding or reinvigorating the economy. We have repaired the lower section of the Esperanza Sugarcane pier, partnered with Navarro Construction in repairing the fishermen’s pier and the Malecon, and financed the cleanup of many sites on the island including SunBay, Esperanza beach and La Parque de Ceiba. A substantial donation was made to Vieques en Rescate to add a cancer treatment center and to the Montessori school cafeteria rebuild. We support the rebuild and repair of damaged homes through HopeBuilders by providing monthly financial support for two full time workers. To date approximately 60 homes have been repaired.

See full list here:
MMEDIATELY POST HURRICANE:
• Because there was no electric power, the economy became “all cash” with most residents caught with little available currency. ViequesLove provided immediate cash through private loan for medicine, gas, ice, food, toiletries, nebulizers, car batteries, and accommodations for critical cases. This assistance continued for the purchase of gas for emergency management vehicles, police vehicles, and portable generators.
• ViequesLove sent in the first airplane, five days after the storm, filled with relief supplies, satellite phones, cash, and a team member to assist the ground team. The plane then evacuated a brain cancer patient on its return flight who needed to continue treatment in the States.
• Purchased and distributed satellite phones to enable and coordinate emergency communications on-island, with US and Puerto Rican governmental agencies, with other private relief agencies, and the rest of the world.
• Set up free call centers for residents on Vieques to make initial contact with loved ones elsewhere, and then periodically to update their recovery status.
• Paid certification training costs for new Emergency Management Personnel.
• Paid for cell phones and monthly cellular plans for Emergency Management and police to establish communication among themselves and with each other.
• Received a donation of the contents of a C130 military plane loaded with survival gear and hired a military disaster relief expert to help pack and accompany the plane to facilitate distribution on the ground.
• Purchased solar powered lighting for the Ferry Pier, Cayo, and FWS lighthouse to ensure the safety of nearby vessels traveling at night.
• Financially supported the non-profit “Generation Gives” which provided satellite WI-FI connections, allowing critical food stamp and ATM systems to restart, reducing cash needs.

COMMUNICATION:
• Working through numerous contacts in the media, gained important coverage for Vieques and established a case for our own critical needs even in the midst of the parallel disaster in the rest of Puerto Rico at large, which was overwhelming any attention that otherwise might have been directed to us.
• Became the intentional information hub through which other organizations could provide immediate help.
• Accepted and directed in-kind donations of all kinds of supplies for distribution through whatever existent organization was best positioned to be effective.
• Provided all the on-boarding agencies (FEMA, Tesla, Red Cross, National Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, and others) as they arrived and throughout their stay with no-cost translation services, local knowledge, and logistics.
• Traveled to Washington D.C to meet with elected officials and advocate for both accelerated and long-term electric power solutions.
• Initiated and funded a HAM Radio program in collaboration with Radio Vieques, William Patterson University, and KP4 operator Alberic Medina as a critical hedge against any future communications black-out.
• Funded a VHF Radio Program initiated by Que Fe Transforma.
• Pre-purchased minutes of use for four satellite phones in preparation for the 2018 hurricane season, just in case.

WATER:
• Donation to Water Rescue Foundation for atmospheric water machine parts.
• Distributed hundreds of water filters donated by other non-profits.
• Supplied water to community groups for distribution across the island.
• Purchased pumps for the sewage treatment plant and paid for parts to keep those pumps operating.

FOOD:
• Wired $20,000 to the Food Bank of Puerto Rico enabling them to deliver shipments of food by ferry to clients on Vieques.
• Purchased numerous truckloads of rice, beans, meat, fruit, juice, and soup from Puerto Rican distributor and delivered to churches, Boys and Girls Club, Corefi, the Municipal Government, and Department of Familia to distribute to residents.
• Transported 40 pallets of MREs to Vieques and collaborated with Corefi for distribution.
• Supported El Blok, Bili, Fe Que Transforma, Boys and Girls Club, Corefi and Alianza Cristiana with food and hot meal delivery programs.

MEDICAL:
• Fully stocked the hospital with medicine.
• Evacuated 33 medically fragile, elderly, and asthmatic to mainland PR and the US.
• Paid for flights for dialysis patients for necessary treatment.
• Supplied health and hygiene products to the elderly and infirm.
• Purchased insulin coolers for diabetics.
• Provided promotion and logistical support for ongoing medical clinics.

CRITICAL NEEDS AND SUPPLIES:

• Paid for shipping and delivery of donated goods from Stateside to Vieques.
• Supplied numerous solar lights, tarps, tents, solar radios, and water filters.
• Purchased, shipped and delivered critical needs such as nebulizers, solar radios,
• wheelchairs, mosquito netting, extension cords, chainsaws, tools, baby items, insulin bags and more.
• Purchased wheelchairs, wheelchair batteries, oxygen machine, veinfinders and other essential medical equipment destroyed in the storm.
• Purchased a second shipment of medicine to stock the hospital.
• Purchased and delivered new mattresses to replace water damaged and moldy mattresses; acquired 95 additional donated mattresses.
• Donated generators, food and toiletries to set up a temporary refuge at Simmons School.
• Purchased pump for water company.
• Purchased drill for electric company.
• Supplied ladders and pressure washers to HopeBuilders.

POWER:
• Supplied 73 solar generators to sick and elderly patients requiring life-support medical machinery.
• Purchased 64 additional gas generators for schools, community organizations, families with medical needs, and the hospital.
• Repaired electric and rebuilt meter at the house of the final resident to receive power more than 6 months after the storm.
• Paid for parts, oil, and maintenance for generators.
• Purchased parts to connect large island generators to gas supply.
• Purchased building supplies for homes in dire need, and collaborated with volunteers to help those who could not manage their own repairs.
• Paid for generator technicians to keep essential generators running.

EDUCATION:
• Screened windows and doors of schools against mosquito swarms.
• Supplied cisterns to the high school.
• Bought gas for school generator.
• Emergency cleaning supplies and health kits to schools.
• Paid for exterminating pest infestation in schools.
• Purchased equipment to supply internet in schools to assist teachers and administrators.
• Purchased lights for the outdoor sports court for high school.

SUPPORT TO OTHER NGOS:
• Supported the Montessori school rebuild of the cafeteria.
• Supported Vieques en Rescate cancer treatment facility.
• Purchased computers for the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust.

REBUILDING/REVITALIZING:
• Cleaned SunBay of storm debris.
• Repaired lower dock of Esperanza Sugarcane Pier.
• Collaborated on a campaign to restart tourism with Lewis Communications.
• Sponsorship to the annual Cultural Festival at Fortin Conde Mirasol.
• Paid for Finca Consciencia to attend Earthship workshop in Puerto Rico.
• Assisted in the rebuild of the Esperanza Fishermen’s pier.
• Funded repair of Esperanza’s Malecon and organized volunteer group painters.
• Ongoing monthly support to HopeBuilders for two full-time workers to repair damaged homes.

ONGOING AND FUTURE INITIATIVES:
• The removal of 20,000 tires from Vieques to a receiving facility in Puerto Rico.
• Monthly financial support to HopeBuilders
• Collaboration with agencies, other non profits and individuals to establish an island wide communication net
• School, student and educator pride campaigns
• Internet provided to schools while no other company is viable
• Establishing internet libraries at schools

As ViequesLove goes into the new year, there are many things in discussion such as providing grantwriting help to our not-for-profits to take advantage of post-Maria available grants, working with national architectural schools for design ideas for sustainability, supporting revitalization of the tourist economy though cultural and eco tourism campaigns, and continued collaboration with all organization working for Vieques. Stay tuned for more!


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2019 SENIORS ON VIEQUESLOVE ADVISORY BOARD

ViequesLove is proud to introduce two Vieques graduates of the class of 2019 and members of the ViequesLove Advisory Board.
Kiara González Santiago, will continue her studies at Sagrado Corazón majoring in Communications.
Grace Cook, will attend the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico with a major in Biomedical Engineering.
We are proud to call these two exemplary women friends and advisors. They will continue to consult with ViequesLove on issues important to the youth on Vieques and collaborate on structuring next year’s student advisory board to include students from the class of 2020 and 2021. Thank you Kiara and Grace and we wish you the best of luck!


ViequesLove se enorgullece de presentar a dos graduados de Vieques de la clase de 2019 y miembros de la Junta Asesora de ViequesLove. Kiara González Santiago, presidenta de la clase, continuará sus estudios en Sagrado Corazón con especialización en Comunicaciones. Grace Cook asistirá a la Universidad Politécnica de Puerto Rico con especialización en Ingeniería Biomédica. Estamos orgullosos de llamar a estas dos amigas y consejeras ejemplares. Continuarán consultando con ViequesLove sobre temas importantes para los jóvenes en Vieques y colaborarán en la estructuración de la junta asesora de estudiantes del próximo año para incluir a los estudiantes de la clase de 2020 y 2021. ¡Gracias, Kiara y Grace, y le deseamos la mejor de las suertes!
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ViequesLove is about collaboration, networking, and forming alliances with those special people who love Vieques. Like you!

ViequesLove would like to introduce a very special comrade, Dr. Pedro Rodrigues Solá who has been delivering medical supplies to Vieques in his private plane since Hurricane Maria. This weekend he and two other pilots, Steven Pauli, and Wladimir Castro, from the Caribbean Flyers were on a duel mission delivering medical equipment donated by Universal Insurance as well as sporting equipment for the youth groups. Pilots Pedro Rodriguez Solá, also delivered 100 balls donated by Universal and used equipment from Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola and Academia Maria Reina.
It is these types of friendships, efforts and Vieques partnerships that are making a huge difference in the lives of many. ViequesLove is proud to collaborate with them and be a trusted partner. We continue to develop these partnerships and liaison with agencies and individuals that want to help Vieques not only recover but work towards a more sustainable future.

Message from Dr. Pedro Rodrigues Solá:
We continue with the help and efforts to achieve a social justice for the island of Vieques. It seems incredible, but on the island there is only one certified ambulance working, and now, with the help of Universal Insurance and ViequesLove we hope to have three of them. We also delivered sports equipment for sports clinics and tournaments. The smiles of the kids speak for themselves. Thanks Universal Insurance, Vieques Love, ORCA Org., and my wingmans Wladimir Castro and
Steven A. Pauli Simonpietri for the help.
We keep working!
#yonomequito
#surrenderingisnotanoption

ViequesLove desea presentar a un compañero muy especial, el Dr. Pedro Rodrigues Solá, quien ha estado entregando suministros médicos a Vieques en su avión privado desde el huracán María. Este fin de semana, él y otros dos pilotos, Steven Pauli y Wladimir Castro, de los Caribbean Flyers, se encontraban en una misión de duelo entregando equipos médicos donados por Universal Insurance, así como también equipos deportivos para los grupos de jóvenes. Los pilotos Pedro Rodríguez Solá, también entregaron 100 balones donados por Universal y usaron equipos del Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola y la Academia María Reina.
Son estos tipos de amistades, esfuerzos y asociaciones de Vieques quienes están haciendo una gran diferencia en la vida de muchos. ViequesLove se enorgullece de colaborar con ellos y ser un socio confiable. Continuamos desarrollando estas asociaciones y enlaces con agencias e individuos que desean ayudar a Vieques no solo a recuperarse sino a trabajar para lograr un futuro más sostenible.

Mensaje del Dr. Pedro Rodrigues Solá:
Continuamos con la ayuda y los esfuerzos para lograr una justicia social para la isla de Vieques. Parece increíble, pero en la isla solo hay una ambulancia certificada trabajando, y ahora, con la ayuda de Universal Insurance y ViequesLove, esperamos tener tres de ellas. También entregamos equipos deportivos para clínicas deportivas y torneos. Las sonrisas de los niños hablan por sí mismas. Gracias a Universal Insurance, Vieques Love, ORCA Org. Y a mis compañeros Wladimir Castro y
Steven A. Pauli Simonpietri por la ayuda.
Seguimos trabajando!
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Street Naming! One neighborhood at a time, we are working to safeguard our community!

As most who live on or have visited Vieques know, many of the streets on Vieques are not named, and the houses are not numbered. This creates a major obstacle for agencies to find locations without a physical address. The ambulance, police, and firemen must rely on directions to get to a location which creates confusion, increased response time, and could put lives in jeopardy. It’s especially critical during and after natural disasters for search and rescue, assessment of critical cases, distribution of food and water, and the ability to effectively organize aid coming from outside agencies that aren’t familiar with the island. With the authorization of the municipality, ViequesLove is in the process of executing a pilot project to involve neighborhoods in the selection of street names, secure post office approvals of the addresses, and ensure 911 compliance on the signage. We have begun with the Monte Santo Playa neighborhood conducting door to door interviews with residents and will be unveiling the new street names with the Municipality soon! Google Maps are being updated, and we are in the process of having the addresses located within the 911 system. The work is being done by staff and volunteers. Signage will be initially funded by ViequesLove, but we are hoping to eventually get a grant to defray much of the cost.

Thank you for your support to ViequesLove. As Hurricane season is now upon us, we are focused on preparedness. Some of our recent initiatives are: Completion of the radio network
Inventory of communication assets
Collaborating with Sears and Salvation Army to install water cisterns for all schools on Vieques
An island-wide readiness campaign
Purchasing life-saving medical equipment for Emergency Management
Becoming an official member of VOAD (Volunteer Organization Active in Disaster
among others!

Please visit our website www.viequeslove.org to donate and see more!

¡Un vecindario a la vez, estamos trabajando para salvaguardar nuestra comunidad!

Como la mayoría de los que viven o han visitado Vieques saben, muchas de las calles de Vieques no tienen nombres, y las casas no están numeradas. Esto crea un obstáculo importante para que las agencias encuentren ubicaciones sin una dirección física. La ambulancia, la policía y los bomberos deben confiar en las direcciones para llegar a un lugar que cree confusión, aumente el tiempo de respuesta y pueda poner vidas en peligro. Es especialmente crítico durante y después de los desastres naturales para la búsqueda y rescate, la evaluación de casos críticos, la distribución de alimentos y agua, y la capacidad de organizar efectivamente la ayuda proveniente de agencias externas que no están familiarizadas con la isla. Con la autorización del municipio, ViequesLove está en el proceso de ejecutar un proyecto piloto para involucrar a los vecindarios en la selección de nombres de calles, asegurar las aprobaciones de correos de las direcciones y garantizar el cumplimiento del 911 en la señalización. ¡Comenzamos con el barrio de Monte Santo Playa realizando entrevistas puerta a puerta con los residentes y pronto desvelaremos los nuevos nombres de las calles con el Municipio! Google Maps se está actualizando, y estamos en el proceso de tener las direcciones ubicadas dentro del sistema 911. El trabajo está siendo realizado por el personal y los voluntarios. La señalización será financiada inicialmente por ViequesLove, pero esperamos obtener finalmente una subvención para sufragar gran parte del costo.


Gracias por su apoyo a ViequesLove. Como la temporada de huracanes está sobre nosotros, estamos enfocados en la preparación. Algunas de nuestras iniciativas recientes son: Finalización de la red de radio.
Inventario de activos de comunicación.
Colaborando con Sears y el Ejército de Salvación para instalar cisternas de agua para todas las escuelas en Vieques
Una campaña de preparación para toda la isla.
Adquisición de equipos médicos de salvamento para la gestión de emergencias.
Convertirse en un miembro oficial de VOAD (Organización de Voluntarios Activos en Desastres)
¡entre otros!

Por favor visite nuestro sitio web www.viequeslove.org para donar y ver más!
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Preparedness, Resilience and Sustainability

ViequesLove is dedicated to providing the tools for preparedness and today was a great day for our communication web. Thanks to a collaborative effort with ViequesLove the Office of Emergency Management, Sail Relief, Mountain Communications, and the Municipal government, a solar powered antenna now provides connection island-wide.

Imagine your world without cell service, phone lines, text, internet, television, radio, long range radio or short wave radio. Now imagine that for 6 months. Vieques will never be without communication tools again thanks to lessons learned from Hurricane Maria turned into powerful community solutions. ViequesLove has supported and collaborated with numerous organizations to put a system of tools in place including HAM Radios, VHF Radios, Satellite phones, garmins, and satellite internet on the ready if needed. Equipment, base stations and mobile units are strategically placed throughout the island and programs are facilitated by Fe Que Transforma, Alberic Medina, OMME, Radio Vieques, VCHT, local agencies and individuals making this a collaborative, community wide effort.


There is work yet to be done to test and supplement the communications web but this is a great effort from many and a great success for the community!


Preparación, resiliencia y sostenibilidad.

ViequesLove se dedica a proporcionar las herramientas para la preparación y hoy fue un gran día para nuestra red de comunicación. Gracias a un esfuerzo de colaboración con ViequesLove, la Oficina de Manejo de Emergencias, Sail Relief, Mountain Communications y el Gobierno Municipal, una antena con energía solar ahora ofrece conexión en toda la isla.

Imagine su mundo sin servicio celular, líneas telefónicas, texto, internet, televisión, radio, radio de largo alcance o radio de onda corta. Ahora imagina eso por 6 meses. Vieques nunca volverá a estar sin herramientas de comunicación gracias a las lecciones aprendidas del huracán María convertidas en soluciones comunitarias poderosas. Si es necesario, ViequesLove ha apoyado y colaborado con numerosas organizaciones para implementar un sistema de herramientas que incluye radios HAM, radios VHF, teléfonos satelitales, garmins e internet satelital. El equipo, las estaciones base y las unidades móviles están estratégicamente ubicadas en toda la isla y los programas son facilitados por Fe Que Transforma, Alberic Medina, OMME, Radio Vieques, VCHT, agencias locales e individuos que hacen de este un esfuerzo comunitario y de colaboración.

Aún queda trabajo por hacer para probar y complementar la red de comunicaciones, ¡pero este es un gran esfuerzo de muchos y un gran éxito para la comunidad!
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$1,020,400 of $1.0M goal

Raised by 7,881 people in 22 months
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