What do you do when your whole world changes overnight?
Those days before Hurricane Irma made landfall on St. Thomas went by very slowly. The shock and disbelief was paramount while watching the radar and seeing the storm grow and get closer and closer. The days after that went by very quickly though, where we banded together and did whatever we possibly could to start getting aid to those who needed it the most.
Disaster relief is the most draining thing you can possibly imagine. It drains you physically, mentally, and emotionally. But the heart of a volunteer never stops beating and it’s the one thing that keeps everything going. The days are long and the things needing to be done are many. Everyone needs help and it seems like it will never end, you can never do enough, even when you give everything you have it’s not enough. It’s very discouraging, you see the absolute worst in people and the greed is shocking. Then, there are moments when you meet someone, hear their story, look into their eyes, and know that you’ve really made a difference in their lives. That without you they would be worse off and that they appreciate you and are forever grateful. Moments like that are what keep you going, what gives you the strength to keep helping because there’s hundreds of people who still need your help and you can’t stop. When by helping someone else they’ve given you more than you could ever give them. In disaster times everything is magnified, you see the absolute worst in people and you see the absolute best. Moments where people surprise you and renew your faith in humanity and give you the strength to keep beating.
In the past six months we have acquired and distributed almost 1 million pounds of relief supplies to various islands in the Caribbean.
- We got supplies on small boats and planes to get necessary aid to the remote municipalities of Puerto Rico
- We did weekly distributions in the British Virgin Islands and continually stocked boats to do supply runs
- We continuously delivered aid to all of the nursing homes, orphanages, and shelters on St. Thomas
- We held the largest distribution on St. Thomas
- We helped organize to sponsor all of the nursing homes and orphanage to have a full Thanksgiving dinner
- We organized to get all of the foster children in the Virgin Islands Christmas presents and have a party
- We had a toy distribution where we gave away over 3,000 toys
- We assisted the marines with their Toys for Tots program to get toys into all of the housing developments
- We held a distribution only for government workers to ensure they were getting what they needed
- We continue to support other organizations get necessary aid to those who are in need
The relief doesn't stop here, we will be continuing to implement projects that will serve to empower the community to recover stronger together.