Hurricane Relief Drive expands as Hurricane Maria ravages islands
Kingston, Jamaica, September 22, 2017: Following their emergency relief work in the week of September 11 in Turks & Caicos, Bahamas and Antigua, Sandals Foundation sent an initial donation of hundreds of cases of bottled water to Dominica today (Friday September 22, 2017) from neighboring Grenada, as part of the first shipment of aid by regional donors to the hurricane-ravaged island. International cargo providers, Tropical Shipping, provided their services free of charge for the shipment while the Office of Disaster Management in Dominica will handle distribution of incoming aid on the ground.
“Our hearts go out to the people of Dominica,” said Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation. “Even though most of our resources are already committed to other islands affected by Hurricane Irma, the Foundation has decided to do as much as we can for Dominica as well.”
Clarke explained that earlier this week the Foundation launched an in-kind drive at Megamart’s Kingston and Montego Bay branches in Jamaica for canned goods, diapers, baby formula and tarpaulins for Turks & Caicos but, after the passage of Maria, the Foundation decided to expand the drive to include Dominica as well. In addition, Clarke added that team members from Sandals La Source Grenada are making their own in-kind contributions of canned food, toiletries and other items to those affected in Dominica.
Responding to the utter devastation in the Caribbean as a result of Hurricane Irma, the Sandals Foundation has already delivered over US$30,000 worth of emergency relief flights plus food and water in Turks & Caicos by working with partners such as Salvation Army and the Red Cross. The Foundation also provided school bags and all new school supplies to 150 children from Barbuda who were evacuated to sister island, Antigua, in order for them to start school immediately. Meanwhile, in the Bahamas, Sandals Foundation worked with Hands for Hunger to deliver care packages to residents of Acklin Island.
Looking to long-term needs, Sandals Foundation has also been spearheading an international online donation drive via the Foundation’s website (sandalsfoundation.org) to collect funds in order to work in partnership with relevant educational agencies on the ground to do rebuilding projects in Turks & Caicos and Barbuda. This effort was boosted by a personal donation of EC$150,000 by Sandals Resorts International Chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart on September 15 designated to assist the children of Barbuda.
“Once Hurricane Maria has moved out of the northern Caribbean we can complete our assessments and begin the real work of helping to rebuild the schools,” said Clarke. “Our aim is to get children back in school to provide some normalcy and stability in their lives and the communities in which they live.”
In recent years, Sandals Foundation has responded to several disasters in the Caribbean with multiple first response relief programs and several redevelopment projects including on the islands of Haiti, Bahamas, Dominica and Saint Lucia.