Toronto, ON (September 17, 2018) Homes are being rebuilt. Schools are getting new roofs. Electricity once again powers lights and cooling fans. But all it takes is a summer squall to bring back vivid memories for those in Dominica who survived the fury unleashed by Hurricane Maria one year ago.
Many businesses have reopened in the capital city of Roseau, and electricity has been restored to most places island wide. But the recovery has been daunting, especially in rural areas, and some are still living in tarp-covered homes damaged by the storm.
“We are a resilient people,” said Sister Henrietta Pond, of R.E.A.C.H. (Reaching Elderly Abandoned Citizens Housebound), Food For The Poor’s partner in Dominica. “But the memory of Maria lingers in our minds.”
Food For The Poor will be honored by Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit during a gala in Toronto on Oct. 13 for its role in assisting Dominica after Hurricane Maria. The Dominica Rising Benefit Gala will mark the island’s 40th anniversary of independence.
“Our partnerships in Dominica and across 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America that we have built over the last 36 years are our biggest asset. These networks have allowed us to respond to emergencies immediately to those most in need in the region” said Samantha Mahfood “We are so honoured to be recognized for our part in Dominica’s recovery and to be a part of their 40th anniversary celebrations.”
Food For The Poor donors have continued to send critical aid to the island to help those struggling to recover. The charity has shipped 114 containers of aid to Dominica since the storm coming from Canada, the USA and Jamaica.
Items included commercial-grade and standby generators, propane stoves, tarps, flashlights, batteries, canned goods, water, diapers, hygiene kits, zinc sheets and nails, roof straps, ridge caps, lumber, plywood, folding beds and mattresses, student desks and chairs, desks for teachers, canned food, MannaPack rice meals, evaporated milk and rice.
“Food For The Poor has made a great impact on many lives here in Dominica. The donors are still doing that,” said Sister Pond. “Thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s not always what you give. Sometimes it’s just picking up the phone and asking how we are doing.”
The supplies provided by Food For The Poor’s donors and partners have reached 28 communities comprising about 15,000 people in Dominica.
According to news reports, more than 30 people were killed in Dominica when the storm slammed into the island on Sept. 18, 2017, as a catastrophic Category 5 storm. It was the first landfall in a path that also devastated Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Many of Dominica’s 74,000 residents were forced to live in shelters, stay with relatives or leave the island after the storm and find jobs elsewhere.
“It is not surprising to me that we have bounced back because we are such a resilient people,” said Sister Pond. “We are the type of people who do not like to just sit down. We don’t wait for the government to help us. We do what we can. If we cannot, we ask for help.”
About Food For The Poor Canada:
Food For The Poor Canada (FFPC) empowers communities in Haiti and Jamaica through five areas of programming: food, housing, education, health and livelihood. Through basic aid and sustainable development, FFPC responds to urgent needs while building community and social infrastructure. FFPC utilizes the pre-existing infrastructure of local affiliated organizations, so as to better sustain and grow the communities they serve. FFPC is part of the Food For The Poor family of charities; the founding organization in the USA is Food For The Poor, an interdenominational Christian organization that works in 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.
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- On September 17, 2018