Good Afternoon Friends of VIStrong!
Thank you for your continued support, prayers, and pledges to help! There are many hands reaching out, some of them reaching back from the island for support, love, and supplies…many of them reaching to the island asking the same questions, what do you need, how can I help?
A disaster of these magnitude is daunting for mainland US, it took a week for supplies and help to reach the victims of similar hurricane disasters. Those of us who live on St Thomas, have a profound understanding of the isolation which island living creates. There are no roads with which to truck supplies to them, our only means of transport to the island is by ship or by plane.
We are currently focused on raising monetary donations at present moment, for the following reasons. The airports on St Thomas, and St Croix are allowing only military traffic currently. Which means even if we had supplies staged, and a plane to carry them, we can’t get them on the ground to the people in need. The ports aren’t open, and even if they were, our two normal shipping ports Jacksonville and Ft Lauderdale will soon be closed because Irma will make landfall in Florida in the next 24 hours.
What does all of this mean? The help we desperately wish to provide is needed, however we need to be smart with our resources. We are working to set up a supply staging area in Philadelphia to begin transport by cargo plane as soon as we have a runway to land on! Physical donations, which could normally be collected at drop off centers and sent to those in need, will become a logistical complication because consolidating them in an area where transport planes are flying from could become cost prohibitive. So we will be collecting what monetary donations we can and funneling those funds into the staging area to gather supplies which are nearby and don’t require additional transportation. In the days and weeks to come, we are certain that more needs will arise, and donations of physical goods will find their ways to drop off centers!
Until then, please continue to share, pray, and send all of the love you can!
We at VIStrong are in immediate need of someone who can work with us to establish a 501c3 as well as anyone wishing to help With content creation and curation on the website!