Metro-Atlanta based Caribbean Association of Georgia Inc. (CAG) is quickly working to coordinate a multi-pronged response to the overwhelming need in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, island chains rocked by terrifying volcanic eruptions. Beginning this Saturday, April 17th, 2021 at Caribbean Life TV Studios, 6254 Stone Mountain Hwy, Suite C, Stone Mountain, GA 30083 from 10a.m.- 2p.m., CAG will host the first of two-donation drop-off and packing events. The event will also feature live music from Atlanta Radio Personality, DJ Chigga. Another event planned for later this month on Saturday, April 24th will take place at Golden Krust Caribbean Restaurant at 315 Jonesboro Road in McDonough, GA 30253 from 10a.m.-2p.m.
The donation drives will directly benefit the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines which lies just west of Barbados and south of St. Lucia in the Caribbean Sea. Residents of St. Vincent near the red zone, the area closest to the volcano, have been inundated with heavy blankets of ash, volcanic rock and lava that have been spewing from the La Soufriere volcano since the most recent eruptions began on April 9th. A full-on humanitarian crisis has unfolded in the middle of a global pandemic hastening the effort to meet the needs of 16,000 people affected by the natural disaster. Current estimates point to more than 3,000 people forced into shelters and even more forced to seek shelter with family and friends away from the red zone.
Right now, the Caribbean Association of Georgia is working with the St. Vincent chapter of the Lions Club International to serve as a non-governmental agency on the ground that will oversee the donation collection, distribution and reporting process for all contributions collected from metro-Atlantans. CAG President, Samantha Samuels said, “We are working closely with people who are actually helping residents through this crisis and they are telling us what they need. Despite these incredibly difficult circumstances, I believe together we can do all things.”
The crisis has triggered a rise in food insecurity, has caused loss of basic needs like access to clean water, electricity and housing for those near the red zone. At this time, CAG has been told that neighboring countries are rushing to meet the need for water. Since the crisis is expected to last upwards of four months, people will need non-perishable food, ventilation devices, N-95 masks, baby care items like diapers and wipes, along with toiletries and sanitary napkins. There has also been a request for cleaning supplies and toys to help families and children who have been displaced. CAG thanks the public for all their support and is kindly asking that all donations are checked for expiration and sell-by dates.
This is a grassroots effort, and the goal is to provide food for a week to feed people in 10 pre-identified shelters. CAG Vice President, Garth Henton said, “The goal is to meet the people where they are. I believe we will achieve what we set out to do because of the bold decisive action of our collective community to help our brothers and sisters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
To learn more about the Volcano Relief for St. Vincent effort please visit www.caribbeangeorgia.org. There, people can learn how to make monetary donations, gather details about donation items and upcoming drop-off events.