The Caribbean holds a special place in the hearts of many Americans, including myself. Liz and I have enjoyed many trips to the islands, one of our favorites being St. Thomas. The devastation caused by the one, two punch of hurricanes Irma and Maria have left many Caribbean travelers unsure of how to help.
Some of the hardest-hit locations, including Dominica, Puerto Rico, Barbuda, St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are still getting basic necessities like power and running water back in place. Other places, including St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Sint Eustatius, Martinique and the Guadelope islands, emerged mostly unscathed.
What we are now hearing from business owners, local governments and tourism industry experts is a call for help in getting the islands’ economies back up and running. In other words, one of the best ways to help is to spend money in the Caribbean!
We received an email from a friend in St. Thomas who encouraged us to buy some local artwork from their gallery, which we did. 100% of the proceeds, including the gallery's commission, are going towards buying solar lamps, battery operated fans, chain saws, roofing tarps, bug spray, mosquito nets, batteries, gas cans and other essential items that we can't get here.
A recent article in Financial Advisor magazine encourages people to help the Caribbean by planning a vacation there right now.
While many of the islands face a slow and arduous recovery ahead, the spirit of the islanders is strong. With our much-needed support, they will rebound more quickly.