June 25, 2020
The Crisis Worsens
Dear Friends of the Morgan Jayne Children’s Foundation,
We know that asking for donations has become more frequent as of late, and we are painfully aware that donation fatigue can set in. But the truth is, the situation has gotten more dire than we ever imagined. Optimistically, we had felt the crisis would slowly wane. But it hasn’t. Crime has tripled on the island as people become more desperate to feed their families. We reached out to Valerie to see how much money she was short for Friday’s food delivery, and she was resigned to the fact that she was going to cancel it. Imagine. Cancelling the only thing these families have been waiting for.
We have 44 families to feed on Val’s list and she spends $50 a family for one week’s worth of groceries. The grim reality is that we need to raise $1,200 by tomorrow. But we think we can do it!
We asked Valerie to share an update so that we can include information in this newsletter – and we quickly realized that her words are more striking than anything we could put together. Please read below. And if you can find it in your heart, donate whatever you can directly to Valerie via PayPal or e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am sitting here thinking of ways to describe what we are living with and I am at a loss. Everyone there is tired of quarantine I’m sure, and many have lost their jobs and are on UI or some benefits, but it is a totally different world here. We are on an island. We are stuck. No flights or boats in or out with the exception of the once a week flights bringing residents back from other places they were stuck in. So that means we can’t go out to work to get money or treatment, etc.
My best friend Deborah died last week because we couldnt get her to the mainland for treatment.
If you are out and it’s not your day (one day in every 14 days you can shop and work!) then you get pulled over and arrested or your car seized. Everyone lives in fear, not of the virus, but of the cops… and of starving.
Today the power company started turning off the power in people’s homes. 200 today. 200 every day as no one can pay now. I just managed to pay my own power yesterday and I had to borrow money from a Canadian friend to do it. I can see some of our kids losing weight. I know many of them are only eating one meal a day.
There is a group here who are going out on Saturdays to just feed children and the mothers line up their children, knowing they won’t get fed. They feed a hundred kids each Saturday, but we have 60,000 children here.
The corner store near my house has been robbed four times in the past three weeks. They aren’t looking for cash, they are looking for food.
In the “swamp” where our school is, robberies are happening several times per day. Our federal government makes no exception for the fact we are an island and we have to live by their rules that make no sense here.
People are going door to door to beg, something I have never seen here before. They all think gringos have all the money as some of them do here and live an oblivious life. Most gringos are supporting so many families already. While their kids watch TV or Netflix or the internet, here the kids have nothing.
No power means no water, no fans in sweltering heat, no light after six when the sun sets. We have four extra kids living with us so we can feed them. Two of the little boys had not been fed for days when I saw them stealing rice at the local market out of a 50lb sack. The owner saw him at the same time I did so I took responsibility for him and paid for the rice. When we went to deliver groceries for the second week to their home we discovered that they had been abandoned by their mom and their dad. The teacher who lives with us just looked at me and we both nodded and just scooped them up.
In Loving Memory of Ms. Deborah
Unable to get to the mainland for treatment, kidney failure took Ms. Deborah, the music teacher, the guitar teacher, the director of Black Nativity, and the crab race announcer that has raised thousands of cans of baby formula for babies here exposed to HIV. She was a beloved bright spirit who will be deeply missed by so many.