The Caribbean needs your help.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Maria destroying parts of the Caribbean last week, many islands in the region were left with historic destruction, power outages, and damage significantly affecting different industry’s, creating a myriad of problems for nationals in these countries. A Brooklyn-based fund, Virgin Islands Clergy Peace Coalition, has been created to support relief efforts for the United States Virgin Islands and Dominica. The drive is collecting much needed items to distribute on the islands in the coming weeks and provide some relief to residents, said organizer Pastor Gilford Monrose.
“We need a lot of stuff to get people along the way of normalization, and we hope to get that to them in the next three weeks,” he said.
Also in preparation are 30 medical volunteers set to depart for Dominica to aid health needs.
“We are willing to help as much as possible,” he said. “There is a need for dialysis and assessment of people who are in acute situations.”
Organizers are accepting donations of nonperishable food and canned items, and brand new items of basic necessities such as soap, laundry detergent, deodorant, personal wipes, feminine products. Other items, flashlights, batteries, and candles are being demanded as well to provide light for people who may be without power until next year, according to Monrose.
He says a lot of the damage, particularly in his native Virgin Islands, will take months to see repair before there is a return to normalcy
“What we have in the Virgin Islands and Dominica is a humanitarian crisis,” he said. “There is no fuel, no supermarkets, some ports are just now being opened up, and there’s no tourism. So it’s a combination of a lot of things by best March.”
And widespread and severe devastation in Dominica has delayed assessment and pushed back certain estimation for Dominica, added Monrose.
There are three donation drop-off locations in Brooklyn. People can go to Mount Zion Church of God at 203 E. 37th St. between Church Avenue and Linden Boulevard in East Flatbush; Brooklyn Borough Hall at 209 Joralemon St. between Adams and Court streets in Brooklyn Heights; or New York State Assemblywoman Diana Richardson’s office at 330 Empire Blvd. between Rogers and Nostrand avenues in Crown Heights.
Other boroughs are encouraged to have drives and pick-ups can be arranged, according to Montrose.
And while construction supplies and rebuilding efforts are not as prioritized as food and hygienic items, tarpaulin — a waterproof roof covering will be needed to provide temporay shelter.
At this stage in the game we want to ensure that people have sufficient food — we want to get enough food on the islands so there are no more points of distribution,” said Monrose. “Once we stabilize the food concern, then start bringing in supplies because shelters are going to be overwhelmed and people who can stay in their homes will need tarpaulins until repair.”
On Oct. 8, the annual gospel concert at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center will be held free for guests this year, and in turn they can also make monetary or gift donations to the collectors.