26th October 2017

The devastation of Barbuda by Hurricane Irma on 6 September 2017 jolted me into action. I told a friend I wanted to collect items to send to Antigua/Barbuda. She was going to give away bags of clothing, therefore I collected them. I did not know how I would have shipped any boxes to Antigua but when we pray God provides a way.

On Wednesday 20 September I received a text message informing me that Inter Island Shipping company was shipping hurricane relief aid free of cost to Antigua/Barbuda. That information galvanized me into speedy action because collection was scheduled for 26 September. I placed a message on Facebook and contacted members of Stanborough Park church including Judy Plaatjes and Pat Walton (Community Services leader). On Monday 25 September the shipping company collected 9 boxes. Mission accomplished ‒ I thought I could relax but that was not to be.

On 19 September, Dominica was ravaged by Hurricane Maria leaving behind IMG-20171026-WA0004death and almost complete destruction of all buildings. On 30 September a member of my church asked if I was still collecting items for the hurricane-ravaged islands. Unhesitatingly I replied in the affirmative. That began a collection on a much larger scale. Announcements were placed on Facebook and Stanborough Park church. Again, Judy and Pat assisted me in the collection of items but on this occasion, I included the United Kingdom Chapter of Adventist Guyanese (UCAG) whose motto is 'People Helping People'. Shortly afterwards I received a message from the headteacher of the Seventh-day Adventist Secondary School in Dominica appealing for help. I decided to concentrate on school supplies. However, people brought clothing, shoes, bed linen, toiletries, utensils, food items, water and uniforms. My daughter, Faith, obtained quantities of toothpaste and toothbrushes from her dental clinic. Some people gave me cash which we used to purchase school supplies.

IMG-20171026-WA0009Meanwhile, Judy Plaajtes organised about 50 boxes of new clothing from the Trans-European Division. None of us knew how 70 boxes were going to be shipped, but God always has a solution. Pastor Lolly Fontaine informed me that Willesden Seventh-day Adventist church was shipping aid to Dominica and she was willing to organize her uncle's minibus to transport whatever we collected. However, communicating with Pastor Kirk Thomas was a blessing. He told me to organise the items and he would take care of everything else which he did. Thank God for His inspiration. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who made donations.

Our next project is to organize builders to help rebuild structures in Dominica.

[Florence Allen. ]

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