Help St. John Prepare

by Love City Strong, Inc.
Help St. John Prepare
Help St. John Prepare
Help St. John Prepare
Help St. John Prepare
Help St. John Prepare
Help St. John Prepare
Help St. John Prepare
Help St. John Prepare
Help St. John Prepare
Help St. John Prepare
Help St. John Prepare
Help St. John Prepare
Help St. John Prepare
Help St. John Prepare
Kids Preparedness Activities
Kids Preparedness Activities

On May 14th, Love City Strong proudly hosted the first in-person Hurricane Preparedness Fair since 2019. We were joined by our nonprofit, government, and private sector partners including VITEMAThe American Red CrossSt. John Rescue, St. John COAD and the Small Business Development Center. Attendees enjoyed a variety of dishes provided by local vendors, a performance by the Dynamic Dancers, and activities to help kids build their own preparedness kits. 

At LCS, preparedness is a year round practice. However, this is the time of year to be extra vigilant. Threats from hurricanes include powerful winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, tornadoes, and landslides. Hurricanes can often undergo rapid intensification, meaning they can quickly gain strength before and as they make landfall. For this reason, it’s important to begin preparation well in advance of an incoming storm. 

Your continued support allows us maintain our existing hurricane season protocols, and develop new ways to engage with the community about the importance of preparedness. Resilient communities benefit from collaboration and cooperation. We are so grateful that you have chosen us as a recipient of your generosity.

Serving locally made soup
Serving locally made soup
Entertainment provided by The Dynamic Dancers
Entertainment provided by The Dynamic Dancers
Engaging with community partners
Engaging with community partners
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Go Team member calling residents to update files
Go Team member calling residents to update files

Following the impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, Love City Strong’s mission developed to focus on immediate response and recovery to major hurricane impacts, as well as future preparedness for the same type of event. Since then, our preparedness programming has grown to include scalable solutions, as we’ve learned to tailor our responses to smaller hurricanes and tropical storms. In 2020, our anticipated shift towards a more all-hazards approach became necessarily more focused on pandemic preparedness and response as COVID-19 impacted the Territory. 

 

Many lessons have been learned in the past two years about the way we prepare and respond in a COVID-era environment, but the core of our work remains constant. More than ever, the island’s ability to self-sustain in times of crisis is critical. We must continue to stay nimble in the face of climate change and related extreme weather, including not only increasingly intense tropical cyclones but also rising sea levels and increased periods of drought, as well as no-notice events like earthquakes and tsunamis. 

 

In 2022 we will continue our community outreach efforts by updating our Immediate Needs Survey data, canvassing residents island-wide to assess their needs and their readiness for potential disasters. This data will be the basis for future programming specifically tailored to the needs of the community, and takes into account the data needs of our partners in the public and private sectors. 

 

As always, the Go Team is responsible for all the data collection and reporting for this incredibly important project. They are currently conducting interviews over the phone, and driving across the island to reach as many residents as possible. Reliable and up to date data is crucial to the development of future programming, and none of our work would be possible without your continued support.



Visiting homes to update resident information
Visiting homes to update resident information
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LCS delivering sandbags to St. John residents
LCS delivering sandbags to St. John residents

As an all-hazards preparedness and response organization, Love City Strong is extremely busy during the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Spanning from June 1st, to November 30th, the 2021 season has thus far been mercifully calm in our particular region of the Caribbean. We remain vigilant by improving our existing preparedness activities, and expanding our programming so that our response is more robust and comprehensive.

 

Some of our ongoing preparedness initiatives include managing our inventory of readiness supplies, and hiring seasonal on-call teams to assist with wellness checks and debris clearing in the event of a storm. Additionally, every year we support the Department of Public Works with an island-wide sandbag distribution. Sandbags are a simple but effective method of redirecting stormwater and debris away from homes to prevent flooding. At the end of July, the Love City Strong team delivered sandbags to the homes of St. John seniors and residents with access and functional needs. 

 

Love City Strong is always thinking of creative solutions to potential issues caused by natural disasters, and this season we launched the “Ready in a Flash” program. Throughout the month of September, our Go Team assisted seniors in scanning their important personal documents to portable USB flash drives, ensuring that they have backups of these documents in the event that they are lost or damaged. Through this program we have assisted 30 households across St. John, and plan on offering this service every year moving forward. Preparing backups of important documents is just one simple task that can have a big impact for disaster survivors in the long run. 

 

The climate crisis continues to impact communities across the globe, and it is evident that preparedness is no longer a seasonal activity, but a year round necessity. We are committed to being an active part of a prepared St. John, and none of our ongoing or future programs would be possible without the continued support of our donors. We thank you so much for your generosity.  



Assisting DPW with sandbag distribution
Assisting DPW with sandbag distribution
Launching the "Ready in a Flash" program
Launching the "Ready in a Flash" program
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Here on St. John, the summer months are heralded with a sense of anticipation and anxiety. Hurricanes and other climate-related weather events are impacting communities like ours more frequently and more aggressively, and at Love City Strong we believe that community preparedness must accelerate in kind. 

One of the pillars of our work in disaster response is the development of human resources. Year round, we focus on training and capacity building for our employees and our partners. Participation in training like CPR, First Aid, Stop the Bleed, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), HAM radio, and more ensures that we are effective as first responders.

Our emphasis on human resources also includes leveraging the skills and talents of our community. Each hurricane season, we onboard a group of on-call employees who undertake a wide range of training in preparation for deployment alongside our full time team in the event of a major disaster impact. The group is modeled after our core team; it consists of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, age groups, and locations across the island to better reflect the diversity of the St. John community.

This focus on local skill building serves three main purposes. First, it ensures that recovery and mitigation funds are spent on local businesses and residents. Second, it establishes a bench of on-island talent to mitigate the need for outside recovery workers. The third and most important purpose is providing a recognizable, trustworthy face for disaster survivors. Since our core employees and our on-call team are all St. John residents, they’re better equipped to understand what their friends and neighbors are going through when a disaster strikes. They can connect with survivors on a deeper level, and provide the assistance and resources that are right for them. 

Your donations make our unique approach to preparedness and recovery possible, and the programs that you support are created and executed by our skilled and experienced team. Human resources are just as important as physical assets when it comes to an efficient and comprehensive response, if not moreso. We thank you for your continued generosity!  



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2021 has brought new opportunities to collaborate with our local and federal partners to support the St. John community. Our longstanding model of going directly to those we serve for all of our programs, rather than making them come to us, means that we are uniquely able to navigate St. John both quickly and efficiently. This allows us to provide people with goods and services from other organizations who might otherwise not be able to access them, and helps strengthen the impact of these programs.

For the last 3 months, we have been regularly partnering with the Virgin Islands Fire Department and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church to help distribute boxes of food to St. John residents as part of the USDA’s Farmers to Families program. Our team’s inclusion in this program has ensured that a crucial group of individuals are able to receive this program’s benefits: Seniors and people with a disability or chronic health condition that renders them homebound. On average, our team delivers boxes of food directly to 80 homes across the island on distribution days.

In March, we were asked to support the The Virgin Islands Department of Health, The Department of Defense, VITEMA, and The Virgin Islands National Guard at the Community Vaccination Pop Up in Cruz Bay. Hundreds of residents have been vaccinated at these events thus far, contributing to the overall health of the community. 

At the Vaccination Pop Ups, we provide extra PPE; supplies like tables and chairs; Spanish translation services; and manpower to help residents book appointments for future dates, call appointment no-shows to rebook their appointments, and pick up homebound seniors and deliver them to their appointment. Through education, access to technology, and transportation, LCS has helped break down some of the main barriers to vaccine access.  

Thanks to the support of our Board and donors, we are able to provide assets for our employees and our partners to successfully execute these programs and in many cases make them more robust. Providing our team with vehicles, PPE, and the tools that they need to do their jobs ensures that they do not have to use their personal property for work purposes and strengthens our impact and effectiveness.

The generosity and flexibility of our donors makes it possible for us to take an active role in these events, and to form relationships with relevant partners in response to immediate needs. Please consider supporting our efforts with a donation, and we can continue to ensure that St. John is prepared and safe.

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Organization Information

Love City Strong, Inc.

Location: St. John - Virgin Islands
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @LoveCityStrong
Project Leader:
Mae Agna
St. John, Virgin Islands
$6,035 raised of $225,000 goal
 
56 donations
$218,965 to go
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