Non-profit organisations in the British Virgin Islands are appealing for the full support of community members ahead of a food drive and cleanup to get underway at 7 o’clock tomorrow morning.
The initiative is in response to the tropical wave that devastated sections of the territory on Monday.
It is a collaborative effort between Rotary Club International, Red Cross, the Family Support Network (FSN), and the Government of the Virgin Islands.
Persons are being asked to come out in their numbers to contribute ‘manpower’. They are also being urged to donate food and other essentials.
“Tomorrow we will be at all of the supermarkets across the island [of Tortola]. That would be RiteWay, Bobby’s, and OneMart… We will have a tent and we will have [donation] bins,” said President of Rotary Club Sunrise, Monique Peters.
“We are asking persons to kindly donate not just food but more important essential items. Things very simple like toilet paper, diapers, sanitary napkins, toiletries – these things are important… There are many people who lost everything. We’ve never seen this kind of disaster in the BVI. In all my time here, I’ve never seen it and it’s devastating. Persons don’t have somewhere to sleep.”
“We are also appealing to persons to donate money or, if you have the means to, donate mattresses. You can drop them off at Red Cross,” Peters continued.
The Rotary Club also set up a hotline (284)343-7139 for residents to call in for assistance to clean up their homes, seek shelter, or acquire basic commodities.
Past President of Rotary Club Tortola, Lorna Smith, appealed for persons to bring their hands, hearts, and cleaning equipment tomorrow.
Speaking at a press conference put on by the club, Smith said: “I am appealing to the whole community to come out. Come with your shovels, your rakes, your brooms, and what have you and let’s get it all done.”
“We are a very resilient community and our resilience will be shown with the speed with which we could get back up to normal,” Smith further said, adding that the appeal goes out to both children and adults.
Persons are also being told to remove their cars and tents from parking lots in Road Town.
“Come and take your tent out by tonight so that morning we can start the cleanup of our parking lots.”
Meanwhile, members of the Rotary Club of St Thomas in the neighbouring US Virgin Islands will be coming to the BVI and chipping in for the cleanup.
The Rotary Clubs of Connecticut and New Jersey have also pledged support to the BVI, and will be shipping supplies to the territory.
Local Rotary member, Elvis Harrigan, also gave remarks at the press conference. “The emphasis is on manpower. We need help. So, all organisations, I am appealing to you to come out and help as much as you can and where you can… We can’t do it by ourselves.”
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