2017 slammed into the USA with its destruction affecting tens of millions of people.
First with Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, where our volunteers joined search and rescue teams in helping both humans and animals. Neighborhoods were flooded and cars and dead animals floated past us down city streets. People had fled their homes so fast that pets were left behind in their houses. We worked in the Beaumont and Vidor area and sleep on wooden church pews at the nearby Cowboy Church where lost or hurt animals were being housed. During one part of the journey an expensive yellow rescue boat couldn’t make it into a flooded area so we found a large yellow blow up rubber ducky in a nearby tree and paddled in to finish the mission.
A new hurricane was forming and heading towards Florida so we flew home and spent two days sandbagging and prepping our houses. My house was at 4 feet sea level and a 10-foot surge was predicted. Hurricane Irma slammed into Florida blowing away homes and leaving 50 million people in the dark. I also tore my Achilles tendon on day one of Irma but was soon back on my feet wearing a big black boot. Nothing was going to stop me helping my town.
We had pre-planned for Third Wave volunteers to meet at a local warehouse ( the day after the hurricane) ready to start helping people. Our goal was to help affected areas all over Florida and to also help out the poorer neighborhoods in Miami with feeding programs. (These included Liberty City, Little Haiti, Opa Locka and as far away as Homestead.) These were areas who would be the last to have the electricity turned back on so we created a coalition- made up of over 80 Miami organizations called the ECOC. (Dave McDougal at New Florida Majority, Miami Climate alliance, Sam at Urban Paradise guild and so many more Great orgs.)
The Keys were destroyed. It was like an atomic bomb had punched its way out of a microwave and not much was spared. Our volunteer teams help setup at a huge base tent at Big Pine Key where we lived in RV’s. We helped provide food, ice, medical, Internet (thank you Humanity Road for your great work as always). We headed into broken communities to give ice, solar lights and a hug of love. We met many resilient people living in the carnage after having ridden out the storm in wheelchairs.
Another Hurricane was brewing on a direct path over Puerto Rico, Dominica and the US Virgin Islands. The hurricane was a Cat 5 and it ripped through the Caribbean and burst our hearts.
Soon after Hurricane Maria we created a coalition between Global Empowerment Mission, We Do Better and Third Wave Volunteers and collected aid in Miami and then Bethenny Frankel joined in and providing 57 planes of aid and the campaign went National and #BStongGlobalBetter was born. The coalition collected aid in 3 warehouses, sent from towns from allover the USA and Third Wave volunteers lead the delivery of 90 containers of critical aid throughout remote areas of Puerto Rico, Dominica and USVI. Bethenny Frankel’s org called #DELIVERINGGOOD paid for the containers to be sent by ship. We could not have done this without the coalition and without our new Superstar Puerto Rican country Director Gabriel Rosario- BRAVO GABRIEL!!!. Another huge shout out to Al Magdelano from Citizens of the world who was by our side volunteering daily and Jeremiah Regan our volunteer man on the ground in Aguada.
#Yonomoquito were our great partners on the ground in Puerto Rico and they freed the containers at customs and provided the trucks to deliver them to their new municipal locations where our volunteers sorted it into smaller packages and delivered them to remote areas. The FEMA aid was stuck in the waters outside of Puerto Rico, so after collecting the first warehouse of aid, Third Wave Volunteers flew west (where no aid was reaching) into Aguadila on the other side of the island. We drove remote helping in any way we could and also along the way gave out tens of 1000’s of donated solar lanterns to families living in the dark. For the past 10 months we have been in Puerto Rico solar lighting up the remote forgotten areas and we won’t stop.
The work goes on— electricity in many areas in Puerto Rico will not be fixed for a possible 1- 2 years.
It’s easy to be in the wrong place at thewrong time but its Leadership to be in the wrong place at the right time.
We have a limited number of pictures below but you can view all the pictures on our facebook page. Please click here to view all pictures.
Love Alison and Third Wave Volunteers.