PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - In Philadelphia a group of volunteers have already collected thousands of pounds of food and other supplies for those affected by Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
When Hurricane Irma devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands last Wednesday Ben Steed, a Texas native who now lives on the island of St. John, rounded up his friends there.
"We said, 'We need to do something about this. I'm not gonna sit here and watch this happen. I'm a former Marine. Let's get something done,'" Steed told FOX 29.
What they're getting done is as grassroots as it gets. Concerned that the U.S. Virgin Islands wasn't attracting the media attention, they launched a Facebook page, asked for donations, and chose Philadelphia as the first drop-off point in the country.
"A lot of folks from the New York, Philadelphia, Jersey, Delaware area come down to St. John. This is our network. We have so many people here we can reach out to."
Marie Peters has lived in St. John for ten years.
"Homes, 80 percent of homes are gone. I'm still digesting. I can't even watch the news now. I'm like, all I can do is do what I can to help," Peters said.
People are responding. After just two days, they're pushing 10,000 pounds worth of food, supplies, water, canned goods and generators.
James McFadden, of Fairmount, answered the call.
"That island and the people on that island have given us so much," he said. "Found out about the collection going on in Philly, which is close to home for us, so we wanted to do what we could to help."
With the storm passed, the 4,000 full-time residents of St. John are now in survival mode. People like Pennsylvania native Rebecca Clark who has lived there for five years,
"This is an island family. Everyone's helping everyone. We're all trying to stay positive."
If you wish to help, visit the Northeast Philadelphia Airport over the next week or visit their Facebook page here.