May 4, 2021

St. John Food Pantry Update

Lutheran Church in Cruz Bay
Lutheran Church in Cruz Bay

The St. John Food Pantry is building some support.  We met with the Board of Directors for the Lutheran Church and the reception about the partnership was very positive.  A memorandum of agreement between both parties has been established and the document lies with the church for final review by their attorney

The proposed area includes providing the program the space with which to operate.  This space includes portion of the church previously used for Sunday School which would give convenient access to those in Cruz Bay.   For those outside of Cruz Bay and for home bound individuals, the St. John Community Foundation will use it's Dial A Ride Transportation (DART) Services to assist with distribution of food for Seniors and those that need further assistance.  

The St. John Community Foundation will focus on operating and fundraising for the Food Pantry.   To start the Food Pantry will be open for food pick up one day per week.

Other distribution will include:

  • Dial A Ride Transportation delivery for home bound individuals
  • Pick up schedule at the Triangle in Coral Bay 
  • Bulk distribution through both Senior Centers
  • Bags will be signed for to confirm delivery / receipt and for reporting purposes
  • Bags will be  prepared for individuals | Dietary restrictions noted.

We are waiting patiently for the news from the Church and anticipate moving forward very quickly once we receive approval.  If anyone has any questions please feel free to email the St. John Community Foundation at info@SJCF.org

May 4, 2021

Three more homes to complete!

Outside of house in Grunwald St. John
Outside of house in Grunwald St. John

Slowly and surely we are getting there.  We were hoping the new year would of been the turning point to get our rebuild program back up to speed, unfortunately it has brough new challenges.   The global pandemic has affected materials and supplies from the cost of concrete to obtaining windows and doors and even permits. 

We are close to completing our 32 house in this program.  32 is a significant number as it surpases any rebuild project private or federally funded to date.  We feel that without this support these people would never receive the help they need.

As we get to the last homes we are getting to our most challenging clients and complete rebuilds.  House number 32 is no exception,  we are helping a senior that lives alone with her adult daughter.  Their home was mostly destroyed in Hurricane Irma and they are now living in what remains of the 500 square foot cinder block basement.   Upon obtaining permits to rebuild what was left, they learned that the original home was built in the wrong location and was built where the road was supposed to be, so they are in all practical purposes starting from the beginning.

The Long Term Recovery group has assisted with the supply of over 30 cubic yards of concrete and windows and doors for this client.  The home is almost ready however we are awaiting much needed sliding glass doors to arrive to.  We are hoping the doors arrive soon as we are entering hurricane season once again and the nightly rains will make it difficult for them to begin interior work.

Supplies such as windows, doors and shutters have been very difficult to source.  Our very reliable supplier out of Puerto Rico has suffered set backs due to COVID and we are now looking at a 4-5 month delay when ordering materials. 

Further challenges come from DPNR and the permitting process on St. John.  After 32 we have 2 more complete rebuilds.  Both of the homes were completely destroyed and despite being several hundred yards from the ocean and hundreds of feet above sea level, both homes had to undergo additional CZM ( Coastal Zone Management ) approval before we were able to begin with building permit applications.  We are hoping to start construction very soon, we have the contractors standing by however we are reluctant to pre-order materials until we know the building permits are approved.  

None of this hard work would be possible without your support.  Construction costs on St. John have sky rocketed and materials are extremely hard to come by.  The most difficult portion of this program is telling people that have lived in extremely poor conditions it may be a little longer before help arrives and that may mean going through another hurricane season.

Thank you for your support.

Doors are installed!
Doors are installed!
Awaiting on sliding glass doors to 'dry in'  #32
Awaiting on sliding glass doors to 'dry in' #32
Dec 22, 2020

Hurricane Recovery continues under COVID

Senior home complete rebuild in Grunwald St. John
Senior home complete rebuild in Grunwald St. John

Construction has resumed on our housing project although at a different pace under restrictions of the pandemic.   The territory of the Virgin Islands has experienced 2  lockdowns due ot the COVID Pandemic and is headed into a third.This has resulted in delays in logistisc and permitingg. Permitting office is now open only 2 days a week since March and has put extra delays on an already lenghty process.

We are wrapping up a current project with a Senior called JN.  JN had permits in place prior to the Long Term Recovery getting involved but she needed further assistance than what was provided by FEMA post storm.   During the permitting process she discovered her home was never built in the correct spot to begin with and was actually built into where the road was supposed to be.   JN had to start from scratch but she is a very resilient individual herself and did not give up.  Working with the Long Term Recovery Team she had initated construction and began with the pouring of a concrete cistern and slab.   The community came together and donated 4 pallets of Concrete Block to construct the walls.   Assistance from individuals like yourselves helped the Long Term Recovery Team finish with the labor to build the walls, install windows and doors and pour a strong hurricane proof concrete roof for her to live in.  The contractors are waiting on the windows and doors to arrive and we are hoping she will be in her new home by Christmas.

Work has slowed down however the amount of homes and people in need has not changed.  The St. John Community Foundation's DIsaster Case management has identified 31 more homes that will not be repaired under any government program.  Some of these individuals have had to move on and have left their homes and the islands behind and some are still living in tents.

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Programs will provide some releift for these vulnerable seniors but limitation within the grant will not be able to entirely restore the properties or create some quality of life improvement for those that have already been through so much.   With your generous donation we can work with the community to make these damaged houses a home again.

Grunwald Home interior
Grunwald Home interior
Still over 30 displaced seniors on island.
Still over 30 displaced seniors on island.
 
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