Even though the eruptions of La Soufriere Volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have ceased, volcanic relief and funds are still pouring in for the disaster-stricken country.
The Brooklyn-based Grand Council of the Independent United Order of Mechanics, Friendly Society, Western Hemisphere, Inc. is the latest to make a financial contribution to the relief efforts.
Top executives, St. Vincent and the Grenadines US Consul General, Howie Prince, as well as three members of the Brooklyn-based SVG Relief USA, Inc., the main relief organization that coordinates relief for volcano-ravaged St. Vincent and the Grenadines, were on hand Saturday, at the Mechanics Headquarters in Bedford-Stuyvesant, for the US$3,000.00 check presentation ceremony.
“As community-based organizations, today, we are here lending and receiving support to and on behalf of our brothers and sisters who have been affected by the recent volcano eruptions on the island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” said Hyacinth Robinson-Goldson, the Jamaican-born Community Liaison for the Order, who coordinated the event.
“On behalf of the Grand Council of the Independent United Order of Mechanics, Friendly Society, Western Hemisphere, Inc. let me welcome you to this hand-over ceremony, as part of our financial contribution towards the relief effort,” she added. “We know that the damages left by this devastating volcano will have lasting impact on the island. And so, we are very pleased, that we, too, as an organization can lend a hand in the rebuilding efforts.”
Other members of the executive present were: Grand Deputy Master Glenver Jones, representing Errol Collins, Most Worshipful Grand Master; Neville S. Reid, chairman and disaster preparedness executive grand trustee; and Councilor Verol Gill, executive grand trustee.
SVG Relief USA, Inc. was represented by Assistant Treasurer Sandra Millington, Dr. Olga Husband and Ynolde “Nolly” Walkin.
“Benevolence and charity are among our main activities,” said Jamaican-born Jones. “Charity is very close to our hearts.”
He said that many members of the Order are Vincentian nationals.
“On behalf of Most Worshipful Grand Master Errol Collins, we want to extend to Hon. Neville S. Reid a heartfelt thank you for their hand work (in raising the funds),” Jone said.
Reid emphasized that the main function of his committee was to help the community in times of need.
Prince said: “Today, you are among those we can consider are among other Samaritan friends.
“Most think the Order is about secrecy, but you are showing you’re more than secrecy,” he said. “Today, you’ve proven who you really are.
“Today, I accept, with great gratitude, this check for US$3,000.00,” the Consul General added.
Millington said: “We do truly appreciate the offer. We truly, truly appreciate what you have given us.”
In addressing the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Debate on the same day that the handing-over ceremony took place, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves alluded to the volcanic eruptions amid the “raging pandemic of COVID-19.”
“St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a small-island developing state with all its historical legacies of under-development and contemporary burdens and limitations, has had to cope, additionally, with the devastating volcanic eruptions of April 2021, the on-rushing Atlantic Hurricane season, vaccine hesitance amongst the population and real uncertainty about the future,” he said.
“Amidst all this, our people are nevertheless possessed of a settled resilience and optimism of life and living, undergirded by God’s redemptive grace, our own possibilities and strengths, a sterling regional solidarity, and promising internationalist support, inclusive of that of our United Nations, for peace and security, good health and prosperity for our people, as pledged in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Gonsalves added.
In its ongoing volcanic relief efforts, the SVG Relief USA, Inc. will be hosting a fundraising Walk-a-ton on Oct. 9 at Marine Park in Brooklyn.