By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
Local businesswoman and philanthropist Alexandra Durante has organized a portal to assist residents — who are facing hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic — to pay their rent, utilities and other living expenses.
Durante said the ‘BVI Hands-Free‘ initiative commenced a few weeks ago but was placed on hold because of the existing curfew. She told BVI News it will kick into high gear as soon as the lockdown ends on April 20.
“Basically, it (the Hands-Free portal) is a website that connects people with the means to help people who need help from going insane essentially,” she said during an interview on Tuesday.
“We opened up the portion of the website for the last three weeks for volunteers — for people who are willing to help people get around — pick up groceries for them, pay their rent, or top up their phone and all the things people are going to be needing help with over the next few months,” Durante explained.
Durante said her latest initiative is progressing well and already 60 volunteers have signed up.
She explained that the volunteer who has the means to offer assistance would explicitly state what they are willing to do. And on the other hand, the person in need of help would indicate what area they require assistance.
“Then we connect the two, and they work out some way of helping pay the rent or getting the check to their landlord etcetera,” she explained.
Durante said while all names of the persons who receive assistance will be confidential, the BVI Hands-Free team will be “very diligent in checking them against other Non-Profit Organization lists to try to eliminate fraud”.
Durante also spearheads an annual children’s Christmas gift-sharing initiative called the Tree of Hands.
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