A relief supply drive in Saturday will benefit a small U.S. Virgin Island hit hard by recent hurricanes.

Water Island is the smallest of the U.S. Virgin Islands and has no significant commercial establishments, stores, or FEMA or Red Cross distribution sites. Therefore, the islanders rely on St. Thomas for all of their needs. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria that caused substantial damage to the island and travel is limited to St. Thomas. Furthermore, the aid supplies there are not available to those on Water Island. The island has a population of roughly 400. There are said to be occasional drops of items and bottled water from the United State Coast Guard at the island’s only dock. A local man vacations on the island and has become close with people there, as well as the owners of a campground.

Tony Puente is having the items collected from an event Saturday shipped to St. Thomas, which will then be boated over. He says the devastation from the hurricanes is still much evident today, saying the first caused significant damage but the second really destroyed things and decimated homes. With no electricity on the island, those who live there don’t have good communication so they don’t know when they can cross the channel to get first aid supplies or visit doctors at a medical center set up. Puente says it’s been almost two months since the first hurricane and the island is in pretty dire straits so they’re trying to help them out.

The supply drive will be held in the parking lot of the VG’s store on Silver Lake Parkway in Fenton from 10am to 4pm Saturday. Among the items being collected include hygiene products, non-perishable food and spices, self-generating flashlights or radios, candles, lighters and batteries. A full list is available in the attached flyer. Photo: Virgin Islands Campground. (JM)