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.
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.
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.
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.
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.