How the Love for Love City Foundation Continues to Help Our Islands

The Love for Love City Foundation crew poses for a pic on Jost Van Dyke. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

The Love for Love City Foundation crew poses for a pic on Jost Van Dyke. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

Back in October, we introduced you to the Love for Love City Foundation, a not-for-profit organization created by Kenny Chesney before the last winds of Hurricane Irma even left St. John. As many of you may know, Kenny owns a home here on St. John and has visited the island for years. So when he learned that his home-away-from-home and many of his longtime friends needed some major help, he quickly sprung into action, conducting interviews to spread the word on our plight, as well as setting up the Foundation which has been instrumental in the recovery efforts here on St. John.

Many people have asked me how St. John is doing so well following two extremely destructive category five storms. The answer, in my opinion, is simple. 1. The people who live here are incredible and resilient, and have done whatever it takes to get our home back to the new normal. 2. We have the unwavering support of all of you. 3. We have two private citizens who have gone above and beyond to help us – Kenny Chesney and Tom Secunda.

(Mr. Secunda is the co-founder of Bloomberg L.P. He too owns a home here on St. John with his wife Cindy. The Bloomberg Foundation dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy back in 2012 and brought that expertise to St. John. They can be credited for helping restore our infrastructure among other things. We will have more on the Bloomberg Foundation’s efforts later this month.) 

When we first spoke of the Love for Love City Foundation back in October, they were still in the emergency relief phase, delivering much needed supplies to St. John and Jost Van Dyke, our neighbor over in the British Virgin Islands. Since then, they’ve moved into the recovery phase. To put it simply, they’re fixing things.

One of the best parts about the Love for Love City Foundation is that you can see exactly where your dollars are going. Drive into Coral Bay and you will see that Skinny Legs has a beautiful new roof. The Love for Love City Foundation helped with that. Cruise around to the corner to Coral Bay Caribbean Oasis and you will notice how Karen’s damaged building has been repaired over the past week. The Love for Love City Foundation fixed that themselves.

Karen and the Love for Love City boys

Karen Granitz, owner of Oasis, with Connor Masterson, Kyle Eckhoff, Benny Wolfe and Seth Bettinger, four amazing employees of the Love for Love City Foundation. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

Hop on a boat to Jost Van Dyke and you will see a brand new dock in Great Harbor. The Love for Love City Foundaiton built that. Wander down the beach and over the new bridge to Foxy’s. The Love for Love City crew built that too.

The Love for Love City Foundation rebuilds the dock on Jost Van Dyke. Image credit: STJ Creative

The Love for Love City Foundation rebuilds the dock on Jost Van Dyke. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

The new bridge near Foxy's in Great Harbor. Image credit: STJ Photography

The new bridge near Foxy’s in Great Harbor. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

They even transformed into elves at Christmas time, personally wrapping more than 1,000 gifts which they handed out to children both here on St. John and over in Jost Van Dyke.

Delivering gifts on Jost Van Dyke. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

Delivering gifts on Jost Van Dyke. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

A little girl received a new bike for Christmas thanks to the Love for Love City Foundation. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

A little girl received a new toy for Christmas thanks to the Love for Love City Foundation. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

They’ve built docks, bridges, roofs and buildings. They’ve helped repair schools and clinics. They’ve cleared debris from people’s homes who couldn’t help themselves. They cleared brush over at Oppenheimer. They set up lights in Cruz Bay along with the Bloomberg Foundation before the power was restored. They handed out hundreds of generators – from ones large enough to power grocery stores to smaller ones that helped the elderly power up their homes. They handed out more than 1,000 Engel coolers so people without power could keep their food and drinks cold. They handed out plywood before Hurricane Maria hit, so people could protect their homes and businesses. They’ve given books to the three schools here on island and donated laptops and desks to the Christian Academy. They helped rebuild the Christian Academy. They cleared out classrooms at Julius Sprauve. They cleared debris from Gifft Hill, so the school could reopen. They evacuated more than 1,000 people on private planes. They’ve transported more than 700 cats and dogs from St. John and our neighboring islands to rescues up in the States.

Jeff Quinlin, operations director for the Love for Love City Foundation, clear brush at Oppenheimer.

Jeff Quinlin, operations director for the Love for Love City Foundation, clears brush in White Bay. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

Lighting up Cruz Bay - Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

Lighting up Cruz Bay – Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

students enjoying books on st john

Students at Christian Academy enjoying their new books. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

Students at Christian Academy enjoying their new books. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

Three students at Julius Sprauve check out their new books. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

Volunteers help load cats and dogs before their journey to the States. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

Volunteers help load cats and dogs before their journey to the States. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

stormy before heading to st louis

Stormy looks pretty happy to be headed to the Stray Rescue of St. Louis. Image credit: STJ Creative Photography

It’s all pretty amazing if you ask me.

Many people may be wondering who exactly the Love for Love City team is here on St. John. Well they’re your bartenders, boat captains, cooks and chefs. They’re photographers and former business owners. They’re simply people who want to help. They’re some of our island’s heroes if you ask me.

Four months have passed since Hurricane Irma hit, and our progress has been remarkable. But we still have a long road ahead. So if you would like to and are able to help with our recovery, I encourage you to support the Love for Love City Foundation.

23 comments for “How the Love for Love City Foundation Continues to Help Our Islands

  1. Lisa
    January 16, 2018 at 10:46 am

    This is my favorite article EVER!!!
    It really has been impressive. We (the STJ Family) are so grateful for all that has been done! Like this article says, we are so fortunate to have such leaders among us.
    I have been watching closely the trouble other islands are going through because they don’t have leaders like St. John was fortunate enough to have.
    Thank you to all the leaders. I’m not simply referring to Kenny and Mr. Secunda. There is no doubt those two have stood out because of the resources they were able to provide. I’m talking about ALL the leaders, the ones organizing clean up efforts of their own in Coral Bay, the school leaders who stepped forward soon after the storm to get the school opened so the kids had a sense of normalcy. I’m talking about you, Jenn for helping provide the information we need to help from afar.
    I’ve always wanted to buy you a drink and spend some time talking with you… but on my next visit, I will come pick you up to ensure we meet!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Great article!
    Sincerely,
    Lisa #addictedtostj

    • Mary Moon
      January 16, 2018 at 11:20 am

      I feel like I have had a part, even if it is very small, in this restoration process just through purchasing a Love For Love City shirt. I wish I could do more by helping in person but I am so glad that a lot is getting accomplished.

      • Linda Haas (Rosebud)
        January 16, 2018 at 9:19 pm

        Ms Moon,
        You’ve also been instrumental in getting people involved in the Adopt a Family program for St John.
        Thank you too! :)

        • Mary Moon
          January 21, 2018 at 7:34 am

          I just do what I can. I can’t afford to donate the way I would like to or help by volunteering in the islands, and I really wish I could. I keep hoping that Tweeting about Love For Love City and Adopt A Family helps in even a small way.

          • News of St. John
            News of St. John
            January 21, 2018 at 7:15 pm

            Mary, you are doing a wonderful job of spreading the word. Thank you so very much.

  2. Jay
    January 16, 2018 at 11:27 am

    This warms my heart on a cold winter day in New England. Can’t wait to see for myself all the progress made by so many wonderful and caring people.

  3. Diane Skrabut
    January 16, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    The residents of Love City are amazing! Thank you, Anne for keeping us posted. It is great to see wonderful things and team work in the news as opposed to all of the negativity in this world.
    We cannot wait to return to our paradise this year! We have many more wonderful memories to be made.
    Love the photographs, STJ Photography. I “follow” all of your posts!
    Our visit cannot come soon enough!
    Great work! Can feel the love!
    Best,
    Diane and Phil
    xoxoxo

    • January 16, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      You’re welcome my dear! Cannot wait for your visit!!! xoxoxox

  4. Grace
    January 16, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Amazing and remarkable! Excellent words, I couldn’t have used better words to describe the work accomplished in 4 short months.

  5. carolyn Monday
    January 16, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Glad I was able to donate funds to help in all this.

  6. Lee Ann
    January 17, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Thank you for this great article recognizing this awesome group of people. Love wearing my Love for Love City t-shirt!

  7. Becca
    January 17, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    As always, Jenn, it is great reading your informative, encouraging blog.
    This is not at all to take away others’ amazing work ….but you make NO mention of basketball star St Croix native TIM DUNCAN! Within three days of Hurricane Irma, he was working hard at fundraising, as well as on-island assistance. His efforts have been phenomenal. He’s shy and quiet and doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

  8. Michael Barry
    January 19, 2018 at 9:18 am

    The struggle is real, but so is the spirit of Love in Love City. There are so many people that stepped up to help us and it’s a tribute to the gracious culture that those of us that are lucky enough to live here get to experience every day.

    One of the most amazing acts to me was to see the Gifft Hill School, a private school, open its doors, tuition free, while the public school kids buildings were damaged and used as a shelter. The decision by the board of the school literally cost more than a million dollars, and demonstrated the deep commitment that the school has towards all of the children in our community.

    St. John is a jewel, and those who’ve had the chance to be a part of it understand this. Thank you Jenn for perfectly capturing many of the moments we’ve seen, and thank you to all who’ve helped in ways large and small.

  9. Csredd
    January 19, 2018 at 10:58 am

    When I donated money way back in October it made me feel really good that I could help from Boston. Reading this article made me feel REALLY GREAT! Thanks for sharing the love ❤️

  10. Lisa Cummings
    January 19, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Powerful! Gave me goose bumps reading this. With all of the bad we hear in the media it’s wonderful to hear about people taking care of each other! Thank you for posting. Can’t wait for June to get here so we can be back on island. The Westin may be closed but that won’t keep us away!

  11. Mary Moon
    January 25, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you Linda Haas and News of St. John. Maybe one day I’ll get the chance to see Love City in person. #LoveForLoveCity

  12. Karen Dodson
    March 15, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    I helped Love for Love City Long sleeve shirts and ornimants for all my friends and family for Christmas. I’M Glad I could help a little wish it could have been more!! I’m so happy things are getting back to normal and families are getting to come home!! Love you St.Johns and Love Kenny Chesney for starting the foundation!!

  13. Ron Mac Lean
    March 25, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    My wife & I enjoyed 4 vacations on St. John in 1991-2004 and loved the island. we are sad for what has happened there. Could you please include us on your blog distribution.

  14. Amanda Borer
    December 16, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Good Afternoon, My husband grew up in St. Maarten and St. Thomas. We visit several times a year. I wanted to get him a Love for Love City T-shirt for Christmas. Are they available for purchase? Thank you

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