When Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the U.S. Virgin Islands in the fall of 2017, St. Croix and her sister islands, St. Thomas and St. John, were devastated. Not only were buildings and infrastructure completely destroyed, but most of the islands’ residents were without power for months. Although the USVI has come a long way in its recovery from the disaster, many residents are still in need of support. Cane Bay Cares, a local non-profit formed by David Johnson and Kirk Chewning of Cane Bay Partners, is committed to providing ongoing long-term support.
Immediate Relief Efforts
When the first hurricane hit, it didn’t take long for Cane Bay Cares to get relief efforts underway. Through fundraising and personal contributions, the founding partners were able to donate electrical generators to community-based organizations, along with providing food, clean water, and medical supplies. After Hurricane Irma, the partners welcomed evacuees from the other two islands to their own homes in St. Croix and personally assisted with evacuations of people and animals.
Cane Bay Care’s fundraising goal is one million dollars, and the founding partners are matching the first $200,000 given. The donated funds are used to directly benefit residents who are in the most need, such as families who still do not have fully functional homes to live in. With the funds they raise, the organization is helping many residents to rebuild their homes and businesses.
Focus On Education
The founders of Cane Bay Cares have a strong belief in the power of education to change lives for the better, and they are investing in the education of the children of St. Croix. After the hurricanes, many children had no school to attend, and when a few schools opened, they could only accommodate students for a few hours a day. Cane Bay Cares is currently in the process of creating an after-school program called Operation Inspire, which is designed to help children who have fallen behind and provide a challenge for academically gifted children. In addition, the program will reward excellent teachers by supplementing their pay.
Cane Bay Cares welcomes financial donations as well as volunteers who are able to commit their time and talents to fundraising efforts, distributions, and outreach. Anyone who is interested in volunteering can sign up on their website.