The rebuilding efforts on Cayman Brac will take many months to complete, but thanks to the donations made by individuals and private sector organisations, progress is being made in meeting the immediate needs of our brothers and sisters in their time of need.
Some examples of the most recent private sector donations include $50,000 from KPMG and $100,000 from Butterfield Bank.
‘These organisations are stepping up and declaring their support for the people of Brac in significant and tangible ways,’ says MLA for the Sister Islands Moses Kirkconnell.
‘These types of donations demonstrate the commitment of these firms and their employees to our communities.’
Residents and businesses of all three islands have shown great personal concern and commitment to easing the suffering on Cayman Brac.
Stephen Ryan, director of Youth and Missions for First Baptist Church, flew to the Brac the Sunday following Paloma to check on family members and ended up becoming a central figure in the coordination and distribution of relief aid to the people of Brac.
‘After discovering that my family made it through the storm in relatively good shape, I recognized the need for help coordinating and distributing the aid that was pouring in from various sources’, said Mr. Ryan.
First Baptist Church had been approached by Samaritan Purse, a Christian organization founded by Billy Graham whose son Franklin had attended First Baptist in Cayman several times over the years. Samaritan Purse had provided valuable support to Grand Cayman after Hurricane Ivan and was now preparing to send a DC3 plane, along with seven volunteer workers, to help distribute large tarps and other critical aid that was needed immediately.
Mr. Kirkconnell worked closely with Dax Foster of Progressive Distributors and Mr. Ryan to organise the distribution of relief shipments and operate a soup kitchen to provide free hot meals to the relief workers and residents.
Mr. Foster said: ‘Within hours of Paloma hitting the Brac, we were on the phone with Mr. Kirkconnell discussing the immediate needs of the people. We knew from our experience with Ivan that the primary needs would be for water, food, and sanitary products such as hand sanitiser. We immediately donated supplies to assist the relief effort.’
Kirkconnell’s Market generously opened up its kitchen and facilities to the project and soon the soup kitchen was up and running, operated by volunteers from First Baptist Church and staff from Kirkconnell’s Market, providing 300 meals per day to start and peaking at over 900 meals per day including lunch and dinner services.
Mr. Ryan and Mr. Kirkconnell worked long hours, even personally going door to door from one end of the island to the other.
Such times of crisis tend to bring out the best, or worst, in people.
In this case, the people of the Cayman Islands have shown their caring and compassionate nature as they willingly give their time, money, and personal goods to their fellow citizens at this time of need.