Earlier today we mentioned how a handful of restaurants are currently feeding people for free. One of those restaurants is The Longboard, the popular coastal cantina located in the center of Cruz Bay. Today we’d like to introduce you to Clint Gaskins, the owner of The Longboard.
Clint and his wife Kristen opened The Longboard on May 1, 2015. Clint was in his hometown of Charleston when he saw that Hurricane Irma had set her sights on St. John. Clint being Clint, he quickly headed to the VI, leaving his pregnant wife Kristen and their daughter Marley in Charleston. (Side note: Congrats Kristen!! CNN accidentally made this announcement to the world about two weeks ago … oops!) He wanted to be on the ground in St. John to help the island, check on the safety of his staff and board up the restaurant properly to ensure that the Longboard could respond and get back up and running as quickly as possible in order to feed people.
Clint’s exact words to me via text on September 5th at 1:52 p.m. – “…we got a community to help going forward.” Hurricane Irma hit St. John on September 6th.
The Longboard was relatively lucky in terms of damage from Irma, and after spending a day cleaning, repairing and prepping, was able to open on Friday, Sept. 8 to provide free meals to St. John’s residents, and continued to do so every other day for the next week. The restaurant opened up at 3:30 p.m. on those days, reserving the first 30 minutes for first responders and emergency personnel, and then opening to the public with complimentary food
With continued efforts on behalf of Clint and The Longboard team, and an unofficial partnership with Cruz Bay Landing who was also providing residents with food, locals have had access to hot meals every day thanks to these two dedicated local businesses
The Red Cross took notice of their efforts and met with Todd Beaty, owner of Cruz Bay Landing, and Clint. On Monday, Sept. 18, The Longboard and Cruz Bay Landing officially commenced food service on behalf of the Red Cross to continue to be able to supply food for residents and emergency personnel. The first dinner served by the Longboard was rice bowls with cauliflower or pork – hearty, delicious Longboard-style nourishment for our Love City’s strongest.
The two restaurants together have been providing 2,000 free meals per day to first responders and residents. Through October 17 to start, each restaurant will be giving out 1,000 meals a day, comprised of 500 bag lunch meals and 500 hot meals. Hot meals will be available at each location, and a portion of the bag lunch meals will be distributed across the island and the rest available for pick-up at each establishment.
Clint and his staff’s commitment to St. John is much like that of the rest of the community; a dedication to helping our island remain strong and rebuild, one day at a time.
“The St. John community appears stronger than ever, the dust is settling and now that the second storm has past, we are ready to get back to business and making STJ great again,” Clint said.
Clint has shared that the trees are growing green buds, the donkeys are emerging and the National Park is working hard to clear the North Shore Road. Everyone that remains on St. John is rising to do their part, come together and spread hope.
Moments like this one are inspiring and are the reason Love City will endure. (Link brings you to The Longboard’s Facebook page)
Details of current food program as follows:
Bag Lunches: 10AM-12pm bag lunch (some portions are distributed across island)
- Cold cut sandwiches, potato chips, granola bars, whole fruit
- Wraps (chicken/cold cut), potato chips, granola bars, whole fruit
Dinner Meals: 2pm-4pm hot meals at The Longboard
- Rice, beans, braised pork, cabbage slaw
- Rice, roasted cauliflower, stewed chicken salad mix
- Potatos, pork/chicken, slaw
In addition to Red Cross support, The Longboard is also raising money to keep the effort’s going and to support relief efforts for Love City. This is a long road ahead, and all the support possible will be needed to keep aid coming and to support the cause. Please visit https://www.gofundme.com/stjohnrelief to donate.