UPDATE: Relief Action Expands in Caribbean: Food For The Poor Continues Aid to Islands Destroyed by Hurricane Irma

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2017) Food For The Poor continues to rush emergency aid to people in desperate need in areas of the Caribbean hit hardest by Hurricane Irma one week ago.

Critical items sent include food, water, medicines and medical supplies, MannaPack fortified rice meals, blankets, rubber boots, mattresses, personal hygiene products, baby items, cleaning supplies and agricultural tools.

Aid is being shipped directly to Antigua to help 1,500 refugees, including 500 children from Barbuda, where most homes and businesses were destroyed. Antigua did not suffer the same level of damage as the other islands.

Caritas Antilles Chancery Offices, Food For The Poor's longtime partner in St. Lucia, is overseeing the distribution of supplies en route to St. Maarten and the British Virgin Islands. Aid also is being sent directly to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Seven other trusted Food For the Poor partners, including Brother's Brother, Feed My Starving Children, Giving Children Hope, Heart to Heart, LRP Recycling, Matthew 25: Ministries and Midwest Mission Distribution Center are assisting in this endeavor.

"At times like this, it is important to reach out to our brothers and sisters with whatever we can supply, and let them know that someone cares for them," said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. "Our generous donors are working with us to meet their most basic needs. This is a life-or-death situation."

CNN reported on Wednesday that at least 44 people died when Irma battered the Caribbean last week, destroying homes and leaving thousands of people homeless. And what little food or water that was left is running out, leaving residents vulnerable.

On Barbuda, an estimated 95 percent of its structures are damaged and the entire island has been evacuated, according to USA Today. On St. Maarten, which is split between Dutch and French Territory, an official said up to 90 percent of the island had been destroyed. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, many who had not evacuated before Irma were huddled together in buildings that had no roofs. With roads impassable, they had to walk for miles to pick up food and water dropped off by U.S. military helicopters.

Haiti appeared to escape the brunt of Irma, whose outer bands raked its northern coastline. The storm dumped several inches of rain, which can cripple deforested areas of this island nation that are prone to devastating mudslides capable of wiping out entire neighborhoods.

Because communications are extremely difficult in the string of Caribbean islands after Irma's wrath, it wasn't immediately clear how many people simply weren't able to contact others to let them know if they survived.

The most critical items needed are food, water, shelter and medicines, said Marcia Haywood, regional coordinator for Caritas Antilles Chancery Offices in St. Lucia.

"It's all of us working together to help those who really need it," Haywood said. "It's a privilege and an honor to be able to do that."

To support Hurricane Irma relief efforts, cash donations are best. Checks can be mailed to Food For The Poor at 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073. Please make checks payable to Food For The Poor and include the source code SC#104162 to accurately route your donation to the relief effort.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054