St. Vincent volcano relief efforts in Brooklyn ‘full speed ahead’

Members of Brooklyn Borough Hall Caribbean American Heritage and SVG Relief, USA, Inc. assist in preparing relief supplies
Photo by Nelson A. King

As St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ volcano relief in the United States enters its third week, the Brooklyn-based SVG Relief USA, Inc. says it’s proceeding “full speed ahead” with relief efforts.

Chairperson Verna Arthur told Caribbean Life on April 27 that, to date, the umbrella relief group has shipped nine commercial bins and two 40-foot containers of relief supplies to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 

“Donations are still pouring in at a rapid pace, and with tons of love,” she said, disclosing that the principal relief base, the recreational room at the Friends of Crown Heights on Prospect Place in Brooklyn, is “packed from every corner.”

“The yard also has a very large quantity of supplies,” Arthur added. “We are hoping for a quick turn-around of these already packed items in order to make room for other supplies.” 

Verna Arthur, third from left, chairperson of the SVG Relief, USA, Inc. sorts relief supplies with volunteersPhoto by Nelson A. King

She said the required list of items is “very fluid,” stating that the latest revised list comprises, among other things, power washers, shovel, garden hoses, wheelchairs and portable toilets. 

Arthur said persons can also make financial contributions via Zelle to SVG Relief USA, Inc, at: [email protected]; PayPal hhtps://bit.ly/3dqvnAF; or via check, payable to: SVG Relief USA, Inc. and mail to 1654 Troy Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11234.  

“The positive energy, which continues to permeate our relief site at Friends of Crown Heights, is astounding: Vincentians, Americans and our Caribbean brothers and sisters ‘under one roof’ making this relief effort happen,” Arthur said. “Thank you. thank you, thank you.” 

St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ United States Consul General Howie Prince told Caribbean Life Wednesday morning that the attention is now shifted primarily to collecting specific times, including 200 portable toilets and five sanitation trucks, which are needed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  

He said emphasis has also been placed in collecting financial donations to assist with the reconstruction process. Contributions can be made to https://helpstvincent.com.

Meantime, Sherrill-Ann Mason-Haywood, coordinator of SVGDRIP, the global platform for St. Vincent and the Grenadines relief, said that Vincentians in several Diaspora locations have been demonstrating “an overwhelming support of solidarity for volcanic relief efforts.”

Annette Stowe labels barrels in the yard at Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center.Photo by Nelson A. King

Mason-Haywood, a Brooklyn resident, said St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ambassador to the United States Lou-Anne Gilchrist recently made a visit to the collection point in Maryland, where a 40ft. container was being packed in Baltimore, at the Hairoun Lounge, owned and operated by Vincentian community activist Kenley “Shortmus” John, a member of SVGDRIP.  

“Amb. Gilchrist acknowledged the overwhelming support in the DMV area, including that of the wider Caribbean community, and stated, ‘We appreciate the unhesitating response and the ready generosity of our Caribbean brothers and sisters at this time of need,’” Mason-Haywood quoted the envoy as saying. 

The drive was coordinated by the Caribbean Disaster Relief and Recovery Alliance, Inc., Mason-Haywood said. 

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