The Virgin Islands Department of Health (DOH), under the leadership of Commissioner Justa Encarnacion, on Thursday, May 14, presented preventative and safety supplies on behalf of The Anderson Stewart Foundation to Clema Lewis, executive director of the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix and Malik Stradiron, director of Ten Thousand Helpers Inc.
With the charitable contribution from The Anderson Stewart Foundation, the DOH commissioner said that her staff concern, full dedication to provide aid to first responders and the most vulnerable are high priority. She credited Irving Julien, territorial suicide prevention coordinator for DOH, with developing and implanting the initiative with the generosity of The Anderson Stewart Foundation.
The initiative began on April 30 with the gifting of supplies to the Herbert Grigg Home for the Aged followed by Queen Louise Home and Home Makers Care in the St. Thomas and St. John District, which was spearheaded by outreach specialist Kwane Bartlett, Chief of Staff Shanna O’Reilly, Deputy Commissioner Hadeya Charles and DOH Assistant Commissioner Nicole Craigwell-Syms. West Care/The Village and Virgin Islands Partners in Recovery were also gifted supplies.
Larry McArthur, vice president of operations, expressed sincere appreciation and said, “On behalf of The Village I want to thank both Irving and the Department of Health as well as make sure that the Anderson Stewart Family Foundation received our deepest thanks! We received a very generous donation, significantly more than what we asked for, which included masks, soap, hand sanitizers and gloves! All these items are in great need as we continue to try and navigate this unprecedented time of COVID-19 while striving to continue to provide the highest quality of care to the residents of the Virgin Islands. We sincerely appreciate the support and the responsiveness from DOH. This was a simple but effective process.”
A brief presentation was conducted with minimal DOH staff in the commissioner’s conference room where Lewis and Stradiron received items that included 1,000 facial masks per nonprofit organization, hand sanitizers, a variety of handwash soaps, gloves and disinfecting cleaning supplies.
Certificates of appreciation were presented to Lewis and Stradiron for their endless dedication and commitment to the Virgin Islands.
Stradiron said, “I do this from inside my heart. We are rarely recognized and most of the time we do not get funding to help our homeless population, so thank you DOH.”
“I will make sure that I distribute all the masks and continue to serve our forgotten population. Thank you, Anderson Stewart Foundation. This means a lot,” said Stradiron.
Gratitude was expressed to Governor Albert Bryan Jr. and his administration, the Anderson Stewart family, St. Croix Women’s Coalition, Ten Thousand Helpers, the entire DOH staff especially DOH and JFL nurses along with the administrative support staff, government agencies and Commissioner Encarnacion for her leadership and her dedication to the public health.
Julien stated that it was essential to the foundation that the contribution not only be used to assist with the safety and protection of residents but also stimulate the local economy. Julien decided to partner with local vendors for PPE supplies to include Jamal Drummond of Amadz Fashion providing reusable facial masks, Ramone Reed-Ventura of Cultured Natural Body Care for hand sanitizers, Cruzian Creations and Business World who will be donating 500 reusable bags to assist with the distribution of items to the community.
DOH will continue its relief efforts in all districts and encourage anyone seeking updated information or guidance regarding COVID-19 to visit www.doh.vi.gov. Go to Facebook at www.facebook.com/virginislandsDOH/ or contact the department directly at 340-718-1311.