Christiansted, USVI via Atlanta, GA – The first phase of Operation Cane Bay Cares St. Croix Hurricane Relief Drive has kicked off successfully with 36 community groups receiving a generator and thousands of residents receiving water bottles between Oct. 11 and Oct. 22th, announced Cane Bay Partners VI, LLLP Co-Founders David Johnson and Kirk Chewning.
Nearly 90% of the island is still without power and there is no convenient access to clean drinking water more than a month after two category 5 hurricanes – Irma and Maria – hit St. Croix. The first phase of Operation Cane Bay Cares focused on immediate needs – powering up and hydrating as many people and groups as possible. In the next phase of relief, items like tarps, solar lights, mosquito repellant and other specialty items that are hard to find on the island will be distributed.
“We knew right away that Maria could be a devastating storm. Already reeling from Irma’s hit, and low on supplies from assisting our sister islands, who were harder hit by Irma, we also knew St. Croix was going to need a lot of help. While we couldn’t get everyone a generator, we knew that by strategically getting generators into the organizations with the widest reach and the greatest need – we could help more people,” said David Johnson, co-founder of Cane Bay Partners.
The generators were distributed to organizations like My Brothers Table, St. Croix Animal Shelter, Boys and Girls Club Christiansted, Boys and Girls Club Frederiksted, Women’s Coalition, Project Promise, Southgate Baptist Church, Speak the Word Ministries, Holy Cross Catholic Church/ School, Seventh Day Adventist School, Zion Academy and many others.
Some of these same organizations then set up as water distribution points for additional aid shipped in by Cane Bay Cares. Between Thursday, Oct. 19 and Friday, Oct. 21, 750 cases of water, 18,000 bottles in total, were distributed through My Brothers Table, the Boys and Girls Club, Zion Christian Academy and Foundation Ministries.
All items were shipped through VI Cargo with logistics being handled by Kirk Chewning and David Johnson, as well as Cane Bay Partners employee Kyle Lajoie and other volunteers.
Cane Bay Cares is trying to raise $1 million for direct relief aid to St. Croix. In the short-term, the goal is to raise an initial $200,000 to trigger a matching donation by founders Kirk and Dave. There are a variety of campaigns going on to raise funds, including a campaign to purchase LUCI solar lights, one to purchase thousands of mosquito repellant bands for children, and a Race to Recovery athlete sponsorship drive to garner 1,000 $20 donations.
“We’re asking for everyone’s help here. Too often, the Virgin Islands is ignored due to its size and distance from the mainland U.S. – but the fact is, the territory was hit with two major Category 5 hurricanes and people are suffering. No amount is too small, $20 to $1,000 and up are needed immediately. Even liking and sharing our Facebook posts goes a long way,” said Kirk Chewning, co-founder of Cane Bay Partners.
For more information on fundraising campaigns, how to donate or to sign up for updates through an email newsletter, go to www.canebaycares.org.