AARP in The Virgin Islands (AARP VI) and the Virgin Islands Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VI VOAD), the St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group, the St. Thomas Recovery Team, and the Love City Strong non-profit organizations all collaborated to donate 1,000 emergency preparedness kits to Virgin Islands seniors in need territory wide. This collaborative effort is the beginning of an ongoing project to help seniors prepare for a natural disaster.
With assistance from the Virgin Islands Department of Human Services (VI DHS) Senior Citizens Affairs Division, we were able to identify seniors who would need assistance for any type of emergency. AARP VI, VI VOAD, St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group, St. Thomas Recovery Team, and Love City Strong donated basic emergency supplies to help seniors get started with their kits. Their kit included flashlights, first aid kit, whistle to signal for help, dust masks, moist towelettes, hand sanitizer, insect repellent, an emergency blanket, and toilet paper. The VI DHS Senior Citizens Affairs Division helped to prepare the kits and are distributing the kits territory-wide to seniors in need that participate in their different programs.
Tips were also shared to reinforce that planning and preparing for your own personal needs today can help seniors and their family recover from an emergency tomorrow. Troy Schuster, AARP Virgin Islands State Director, stated, “Our hope is for the information and items shared in these kits will help not only Virgin Islands seniors, but also their family members and caregivers be prepared. We should all have a plan on what you need to do before, during and after, in the event a disaster strikes. Having a plan and basic essentials organized in a kit or stored in a central location for easy access does help.”
This year we have the additional concern of staying healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some tips for emergency disaster preparations remain the same, there are new emergency guidelines and things to consider. Planning and preparing can make a big difference in safety and resiliency in the wake of a hurricane, earthquake, or any other natural disaster.
AARP VI will continue to collaborate with community partners to expand our outreach around disaster preparedness for Virgin Islanders, especially the 50+ population, to continue to provide valuable information and resources for our community. For more information on this VI Emergency Preparedness Kit Project and future projects, please contact us at (340) 713-2002.