With Hurricane Dorian fresh in our collective memory, we can easily recall feelings of distress while preparing for the storms or during the aftermath. What we may not realize is that recovery time from a large-scale natural disaster can take months, or even years. Such is the case in the US Virgin Islands, where they are still feeling the effects from two Category 5 hurricanes that arrived within two weeks of each other back in September 2017. Even now, families are still struggling to repair their homes and recreate a sense of normal routines for their children. The cost of building supplies is very high, as is the cost of simply putting food on the table. Many families live in poverty, and struggle to get ahead. We wanted to put funds from our #RANoHungryChild initiative to work.
From over a thousand miles away, US Southeast Regional Representative Emily Rivera-Jackson was able to make a connection with the Catholic Charities of the Virgin Islands. The mission of Catholic Charities is to provide meals and emergency shelter for those struggling with poverty and homelessness. Executive Director Andrea Shillingford told Emily about the high number of children and families who come to their food bank for free meals. She also mentioned that Catholic Charities puts together take-home bags for hungry children, and said they could use some assistance in filling those bags. Emily put together a list of food items to send to the Virgin Islands.
Feeling the Struggle
It was not all smooth sailing for Emily on this act, however. She soon learned that shipping food items from the continental United States to the Virgin Islands would cost more than the food itself! So instead, Random Acts sent funding directly to Catholic Charities. Andrea and her team were able to purchase much more food that way, filling many take-home bags with fruit cups, juice, and crackers, along with more “fun” foods like cookies and breakfast pastries. They also had enough to serve hot meals of chicken and rice for the children and families who came to them for help. Andrea mentioned that experiencing homelessness in a small town can be even more difficult, simply due to the lack of proper resources. We are so thankful for organizations like Catholic Charities, who provide constant support to those who are struggling. If you would like to make a donation to support their efforts, you can do so on their website.
There are so many ways that you can help make a difference, whether halfway around the world or in your own backyard. And we want to help! Visit our Sponsored Acts page to learn how we can work together to help change the world one random act of kindness at a time.