Sometimes, persons have a lot of negative things to say about the youths, but in the case of Rachel Douglas and the charitable entity Afro Caribbean Services St. Vincent and the Grenadines (ACSSVG), she has nothing but praises to sing.
Douglas, through ACSSVG, has been helping feed the nation’s evacuees and on Wednesday, she told SEARCHLIGHT that several young people across the nation have been making the process seamless through their volunteerism.
“They are amazing. I just feel like the kids have turned up for St. Vincent. I have never seen so many young people turn up and just doing their bit for the communities and that is great,” Douglas told SEARCHLIGHT.
Explaining how ACSSVG started, Douglas said she is a St Vincent-born British resident who runs an online store and she has been in SVG since last year.
When the volcano erupted, Douglas who says she has a lot of connections in the United Kingdom (UK), “people with money”, wanted to help those affected so she gave her contacts the option to send money to her adopted cause.
“So we started getting donations from out of everywhere. People just sort of took to us and we had footballers and other persons contributing to us,” Douglas revealed.
She said that ACSCVG decided to set up a base from which to operate, and through that site and with the help of a host of young people, is trying to reach those who are falling through the cracks.
“People are reaching out to us and asking, can you help? and we have been checking to actually see if they are evacuees, registering them with us and getting them food, toiletries, mattresses,” Douglas explained.
She added that they have teamed up with Vincy Alliance Mas, an entity in the UK that also started a charity, this one called, Help SVG UK, and as a result they have received containers of donations which they are distributing.
Douglas said that last Sunday May 17, a lot of youngsters came out to help, as usual, and she continues to be impressed by their caring nature.
“We operate all through the week, they are friends, people I know from social media, family, and they are all young people,” said Douglas who shared that she does youth and community work in the UK.
“Naturally young people gravitate towards me so that is why I think they have come to me and that is why they are volunteering.
“We make it fun, we play music, we have someone that cooks a pot of soup and make sandwiches…they are not getting paid, they are just volunteering.
“We have some nice food, laugh, a few drinks, and we just get the work done and honestly it has been amazing,” Douglas said.
ACSSVG boasts of having impacted hundreds of persons- close t0 500 families- with over 300 persons registered with the organization and more coming in every day.
She said they give people enough food to last for two to three weeks and is hoping to keep this up for as long as possible. There is also an intention to have ACSSVG registered as a charitable organization that will keep helping the needy even in times when there is no crisis.
“I am hoping to open an outreach centre that helps all the time, not just in times of need, but to help people who are struggling, that is what I want to do,” Douglas stressed.
ACSSVG can be contacted through an email address, [email protected] as Douglas wants to keep their location secret to avoid being bombarded by huge crowds.