I can still remember the feeling of helplessness that washed over me late in the evening on September 5th. As the power grid went down, and the ominous storm warning went up, there was a profound sense of powerlessness to help those I loved in a community I cherish! There in the early morning hours on September 6th, a small group of island friends gathered on the phone to ask the same question…how can we be a part of the solution without becoming a part of the problem.
The answer wasn’t immediately clear, we knew the devastation would be immense, that we were not physically, mentally, and emotionally equipped to solve the problems the coming days would bring. As the winds and rains began to mount and our tiny island homes began to be lashed by the unrelenting forces of Mother Nature, we knew that awareness was key! The storm would quickly reach the mainland and the Islands we love would be lost as the media turned its spotlight on Florida.
We teamed up with a few friends and more than a few total strangers to begin fundraising efforts, at the time we had no idea what the money we collected would be used for, however we knew that the window of opportunity to touch the hearts of the world would quickly close! We created an Amazon Wishlist to aid in sending much needed supplies, we designed and began selling VI Strong T-shirts, and we continued to use our words and social reach to spread awareness. Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months! Donations poured in from around the world and we have been able to help in so many ways!
So from all of us, to all of you, we want to say Thank You! We carry with us today a grateful heart for those of you who gave your time and money to help those in need, you are miracle workers!
For those of you who gave, and continue to give, here is a list of some of the ways you have been able to help:
- 2-40′ Shipping Containers full of relief supplies delivered to Family Resource Center in St Thomas
- 3-40′ Shipping Containers full of relief supplies delivered to Perfect Heart and St Thomas Boxing for Distribution
- 2 Consignments (Approximately 20,000 CF) of supplies brought in to Viking Corp which have been delivered for Distribution
- Partnered with PetSearch to pay for the shipping costs of a 20′ Shipping Container of Pet Supplies for the STT Humane Society
- 2-35′ Boats full of Supplies brought in from our PR staging area (Special Thanks to Dan and Garth with Over the Line Charters)
- 2 Free Tarp Giveaways
- $500 donation for VIASAP Thanksgiving Meal Program
- 400 Stamps Delivered to WGOST to allow Residents of Assisted Living Facilities to send Holiday Greeting Cards
- $3,400 Donation to Nanu’s Nursery to replace Playground Equipment lost in the Storms
A very special thank you to the following people, without whom none of this would be possible: Melissa Simpson, Jasmine Watson, Nicole Chomyn, Caite Rosko, Rebecca Clark, Jody Olson, Viking Corp, and the countless others who have given all they could to those who had very little!