RELIEF efforts

When Hurricane Maria hit, people who loved our island sprang into action. Read the story of ViequesLove and other heroic efforts.

 
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VIEQUES LOve

After Hurricane Maria, communications were nonexistent, and relief efforts were at a standstill. A group of people who love Vieques deeply, both on and off-island, came together to raise funds to restore communication and other vital services. Today, the organization's focus is on bringing Vieques a sustainable future.

ViequesLove is partnering with nonprofits across Vieques, as well as the coalition of government agencies, to meet the needs of the people of Vieques. Because ViequesLove was born in crisis and continues to operate in emergency situations, our future is unclear. To fund these efforts and related missions, ViequesLove is using the money donated to this GoFundMe by our overwhelmingly generous donors. Any funds left over after relief operations have ceased will be dedicated to creating a more sustainable future for Vieques.

 

Donate Today

We want to give a heartfelt thank you to our donors. You have made many things possible on Vieques and have given many people hope. The love for Vieques is true, steady and most of all, unconditional. We thank you and continue to work for you and our island home. ViequesLove is now a federally recognized tax exempt 501c3 organization. 

ViequesLove 
PO Box 1108
Vieques, PR 00765
info@viequeslove.org

 
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Accomplishments To Date
 

IMMEDIATELY POST HURRICANE:

• Provided immediate cash through private loan for medicine, gas, ice, food, toiletries, nebulizers, car batteries, accommodations for critical cases, and gas for emergency management vehicles, police vehicles, and portable generators. 

• Landed a plane five days after the storm loaded with supplies, satellite phones, cash, and a team member to assist the ground team.   

• Purchased and distributed satellite phones to enable and coordinate emergency communications.

• Set up free call centers for residents on Vieques to call loved ones and let them know that they were safe. 

• Paid for cell phones and monthly cellular plans for Emergency Management and Vieques police to establish communication.

• Received and coordinated a donation of solar survival gear and a C130 military plane to transport to Vieques. Coordinated distribution. 

• Purchased solar lights for the Ferry Pier, Cayo, Rompeolas and FWS lighthouse to ensure the safety of maritime vessels traveling at night. 

• Financially supported the non-profit “Generation Gives” which provided satellite WI-FI connections, allowing critical food stamp and ATM systems to operate.

• Paid certification training costs for new Emergency Management Personnel.

CRITICAL NEEDS AND SUPPLIES:

• Purchased and distributed shipments of solar lights, tarps, tents, solar radios, generators, nebulizers, wheelchairs, mosquito netting, extension cords, chainsaws, tools, baby items, insulin bags, water filters and more.

• Purchased wheelchairs, wheelchair batteries, oxygen machine, orthopedic equipment, air conditioners, vein finders and other essential medical equipment needed.

• Purchased and delivered 40 new mattresses to replace water damaged and moldy mattresses; acquired 95 additional donated mattresses.

• Donated generators, food and toiletries to set up a temporary refuge at Simmons School.

• Purchased pump for water company.

• Purchased drill for electric company.

• Supplied ladders and pressure washers to HopeBuilders.

• Received and moved donations of goods from many organizations and foundations which were then distributed to churches and organizations working on Vieques.

• Purchased building supplies for homes in dire need, and collaborated with volunteers to help those who could not manage their own repairs.

COMMUNICATION:

• Gained important coverage for Vieques through numerous contacts in the media, and established a case for our own critical need.

• Became the information hub through which other organizations could provide immediate help or services.

• Accepted and directed in-kind donations of all kinds of supplies for distribution through whatever existent organization was best positioned to be effective. 

• Provided all the on-boarding agencies (FEMA, Tesla, Red Cross, National Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, and others) as they arrived and throughout their stay with no-cost translation services, local knowledge, and logistics.

• We traveled to Washington for a meeting with elected officials to advocate for a solution for an electric power system that is accelerated and long-term.

. • Initiated and funded a HAM Radio program in collaboration with Radio Vieques, William Patterson University, and KP4 operator Alberic Medina as a critical hedge against any future communications black-out.

• Funded a VHF Radio Program coordinated with Que Fe Transforma to connect first responders.

• Maintain satellite phones and connectivity.

WATER:

• Donation to Water Rescue Foundation for atmospheric water machine parts.

• Distributed hundreds of water filters donated by other non-profits. 

• Supplied water to community groups for distribution across the island.

• Purchased pumps for the sewage plant and paid for parts to keep pumps operating.

MEDICAL:

• Purchased medicine to fully stock the hospital. Coordinated and supported donated shipments of medicine to get to Vieques.

• Evacuated 33 medically fragile, elderly, and asthmatic to mainland PR and the US.

• Paid for flights for dialysis patients for necessary treatment.

• Supplied health and hygiene products to the elderly and infirm.

• Purchased insulin coolers for diabetics.

• Provided promotion and logistical support for ongoing medical clinics.

• Received and paid for delivery of donated medical supplies to Vieques and distributed to the hospital, physicians and dentists. 

POWER:

• Supplied 73 solar generators to sick and elderly patients requiring life-support medical machinery.

• Purchased 64 additional gas generators for schools, community organizations, families with medical needs, and the hospital.

• Repaired electric and rebuilt meter at the house of the final resident to receive power more than 8 months after the storm.

• Paid for parts, oil, and maintenance for generators.

• Purchased parts to connect large island generators to gas supply. 

• Paid for generator technicians to keep essential generators running.

• Traveled to Washington D.C to meet with elected officials and advocate for both accelerated and long-term electric power solutions

• Provided translation services and local knowledge to become a liasion for power solutions.

FOOD:

• Wired $20,000 to the Food Bank of Puerto Rico enabling them to deliver shipments of food by ferry to clients on Vieques shortly after the storm.

• Purchased numerous truckloads of rice, beans, meat, fruit, juice, and soup from Puerto Rican distributor and delivered to churches, Boys and Girls Club, Corefi, the Municipal Government, and Department of Familia to distribute to residents.

• Transported 40 pallets of MREs to Vieques and collaborated with Corefi for distribution. 

• Supported El Blok, Bili, Fe Que Transforma, Boys and Girls Club, Corefi and Alianza Cristiana with food and hot meal delivery programs.

EDUCATION:

• Screened windows and doors of schools against mosquito swarms.

• Supplied cisterns to the high school.

• Provided schools with generators and supplied the gas.

• Emergency cleaning supplies and 
health kits.

• Paid for exterminating pest infestation.

• Purchased equipment to supply internet in schools to assist teachers and administrators.

• Purchased lights for the outdoor sports court for high school.

• Setting up model nonprofit within junior and senior class to convey needs of Vieques youth. Three high school students will be on the ViequesLove advisory board.

• Setting up an educator appreciation program with local restaurants to create a discount card for educators.

• Connecting stateside schools to Vieques schools for ongoing collaboration. 

• Liaison with stateside schools to donate sports equipment.

• Became the liaison for solar group to install solar system at Simmons School which is also the temporary refuge.

REBUILDING/REVITALIZING:

• Cleaned SunBay, other beaches and Parque de Ceiba of storm debris. 

• Repaired lower dock of Esperanza Sugarcane Pier. 

• Assisted in the rebuild of the Esperanza Fishermen’s pier. 

• Paid for Finca Consciencia to attend Earthship workshop in Puerto Rico. 

• Funded the temporary repair of Esperanza’s Malecon to ensure the safety of residents and visitors and organized volunteer groups to paint. 

• Collaborated on a campaign to boost tourism with Lewis Communications. Paid for a social media blast of cultural and ecotourism videos.

• Sponsorship to the annual Cultural Festival at Fortin Conde Mirasol. 

SUPPORT TO OTHER NGOS:

• Supported the Montessori school rebuild of the cafeteria.

• Supported Vieques en Rescate cancer treatment facility.

• Purchased computers for the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust.

• Monthly support to HopeBuilders for two full-time workers to repair damaged homes.

• Distributed over 60 pallets of donated goods to other organizations such as Department of Familia, Boys and Girls Club, Corefi, Churches, the Municipality, Emergency Management, Schools, Vieques en Rescate, the hospital, Vieques physicians and individuals.