I have been writing, for weeks, I don’t have a lot of money, but what I do have is time…time to sit and write, time to be a voice for the hurricane affected regions in the US Virgin Islands. Advocating for the needs of the community I love is my contribution to the greater good. My only hope is that you will read my words, they will touch your heart, and you will share our message.
It’s hard to believe that there are good people out there, to blindly trust someone you have never met that they are simply trying to act with the best intentions of the community in mind. Many of you who will read these words will never meet me. Our website has been visited 54,000 times in the last 10 days, a number which continues to shock me. I’m heavy hearted at the idea that we need to defend our character, however in the wake of Hurricane Maria, we now understand that our public trust amongst the sister island of St Croix needs to be established. It was easy to garner trust in St Thomas, we live there, someone on our team has touched the life of someone else out there, and people knew us.
VI Strong started as a group of friends staring in disbelief at the approaching storm on September 5th. We wiped tears from our eyes, we talked about all of the what-ifs, we cried a little more, and then we asked the question, what can we do to help? We didn’t have much money, but we were all safely in the states, displaced, homeless, jobless, and all we had was time. So we started working, we created a little fundraiser, we had no idea what we were doing but we were willing to learn, to adapt.
Before long we were having conversations about private jets, cargo ships, supply drops, palletized shipments…things we never imagined we would be a part of. We had to adjust our focus many times to find the most efficient way to provide supplies to St Thomas, moving from Philadelphia to Fajardo, PR, and then to San Juan, and ultimately reaching a freight forwarding company in Miami who was willing to donate time and materials to help stage supplies.
We aren’t a 501c3, because truthfully we haven’t had the time, we somehow just knew that if we kept working, doing the best we could, the call would come someday, and someone would offer their time to help set that up. That day was yesterday. Establishing ourselves long term as a nonprofit is an unrealized goal, but something we believe is necessary to achieve the greater good.
I believe in transparency, I believe that if we are honest, and upfront in our actions, and if we move forward with a full heart, that we will do well for others.
I encourage all of you to reach out to me personally with any questions you may have.