Cayman Islands Red Cross leads way in hurricane relief

A wide variety of organizations have banded together to raise money in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and the Cayman Islands Red Cross is right in the middle of the philanthropic circle.

The Cayman Islands Red Cross has raised $70,000 so far, and a local donor has pledged to match the organization’s funds up to US$200,000. The British Red Cross has raised more than 2.4 million pounds thus far, and it’s made a three-year commitment to distribute 5.4 million pounds to the affected areas.

“As overwhelming as it is, there’s a three-year commitment from the British Red Cross,” said Jondo Obi, director of the Cayman Islands Red Cross. “It’s not going to end by Christmas. When the cameras go off and the people have forgotten, the Red Cross has to continue through the different phases.”

Another initiative, Cayman Cares, is being spearheaded by the Tortuga Rum Company. Hurley’s Supermarket, Home Gas, Discount Liquors and Island Companies will contribute to the fund throughout September, and then they will hand their donations over to the Red Cross to distribute abroad.

The Cayman Islands Red Cross sent an airplane to the British Virgin Islands on Thursday with a cargo hold full of medical supplies – courtesy of Cayman Medical Services – and tarpaulins. Ms. Obi said that Cayman residents remember what it was like to go through Hurricane Ivan and are thrilled to help others.

“I’m just so thankful to the Cayman community once again stepping up and caring about our brothers and sisters in the northern Caribbean,” she said. “People tend to remember the Red Cross after a disaster. Throughout the year, people don’t know quite what we’re doing because there’s a lot of work we do behind the scenes. We do a lot of education, a lot of awareness and a lot of training.”

International TV and broadband company Liberty Global has launched the Cable & Wireless Charitable Foundation under the umbrella of C&W Communications. That foundation was begun with US$500,000 in seed money to support humanitarian efforts around the Caribbean, and it will operate as a fundraising hub that allows local, regional and international agencies to execute projects in affected areas.

John Reid, the chief executive officer of C&W, issued an official statement about the foundation.

“The 2017 hurricane season continues to have a grave impact upon some of the markets in which we operate, and the present situation requires a concerted effort to provide much needed relief,” he said in the press release. “What has been truly uplifting, however, is the huge desire amongst our employees, partners, and customers – as well as our extended Liberty Global family – to help improve the situation on the ground. The establishment of the Foundation is our commitment to do just that – and we’re looking to get everyone involved to help drive hurricane relief and other humanitarian efforts.”

The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation has also got in on the fundraising effort, and has pledged $750,000 to the American Red Cross and $250,000 to Americares. That donation will go to assist with relief efforts in the southeast United States and Caribbean in the wake of Irma and Maria.

The Cayman Ministers’ Association has announced its own fundraising efforts, and all local pastors have been encouraged to bring in financial donations by Oct. 1. Those contributions will be sent to the Samaritans Purse, an organization headed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Members of the public can drop off donations at Agape Family Worship Centre on Fairbanks Road. All checks can be made payable to Cayman Ministers’ Association and can be mailed to the Agape Family Worship Centre, PO Box 276, KY1-1104.

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