Evacuees send care packages to U.S. Virgin Islands

- A woman who had to evacuate the U.S. Virgin Islands with her children is sending supplies to those in need.

"Start putting everything you can in the box. Do it nicely ok?" said Pam Engle as her 6-year-old daughter Mia and 4-year-old son Luca helped put hope in a box.

"Don't forget the towel. How are they going to keep warm? Good job," she said.  Their family evacuated from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands before Irma hit.  They're staying with family in Doylestown but Pam couldn't stop thinking about the devastation and everyone left behind.

"We had at first a feeling of guilt that we weren't there to help and that we were able to get out," she said.  Then while on the internet one day Pam came across a woman named Sabrina who was in Richmond Virginia. She had also fled the island.  Together they came up with the idea of a care package program called Adopt a Family USVI.

"The amount of support has been overwhelming.  We've sent so far over 8,000 boxes and we just started this on September 9th," said Pam.  Their Facebook page Adopt a Family USVI is where people who want to help can sign up.

"First you go buy a large flat rate box from the USPS store and then you'll receive a list of some of the most needed items," she explained. The box is labeled with letters for a specific gender of adult and child based on what's inside.

“Clorox wipes because they're worried about mold and children getting sick. There's so much stagnant water they need mosquito nets, citronella candles as well as mosquito repellant. They need flashlights, canned goods that are easy to open and over the counter medications," she said.

The boxes are shipped to a family resource center in Florida and then once a week the cargo is taken by boat to shelters in St. Thomas and Saint John.  Pam says it's really making a difference.

"It doesn't really matter how much you help out with sometimes it's just hope that people really need," she said.

If you wish to help, please click here.


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