Aug. 20, 2002 – Families living on fixed or low incomes will be able to take advantage of a donation of hurricane supplies made to the V.I. government by PriceSmart on St. Thomas.
A hundred small kits containing batteries, canned goods and canned sterno fuel will be handed out at a hurricane preparedness trade show scheduled for Saturday at Tutu Park Mall.
PriceSmart also donated two larger emergency supply kits to Government House and the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency at a ceremony held Wednesday at VITEMA headquarters.
"We want to be involved in the community," PriceSmart's general manager, Eric Hildebrandt, said at the presentation ceremony. While that "helps us out in the long run with sales," he said, it's also just to let people know "we're on St. Thomas, and we're here to help the community."
In accepting the donation for VITEMA, Adj. Gen. Cleve McBean of the V.I. National Guard said PriceSmart and Hildebrandt "set the tone for what corporate citizenship is all about."
Noting that VITEMA, like the rest of the community, must be prepared for possible natural disasters, McBean added, "Part of our preparedness structure also requires us to have some goods on hand."
Representing Government House, James O'Bryan accept the other preparedness kit on behalf of the governor. And he took the opportunity to remind residents of the need to be prepared as the height of the 2002 Atlantic hurricane season approaches.
Warren Bush, director of the University of the Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center, said exhibitors at Saturday's trade show will promote locally available goods and services consumers can utilize to protect their homes and businesses before a catastrophic storm strikes. The SBDC has organized such events in conjunction with VITEMA for several years. And at times of disaster, the agency assists the public in preparing applications for disaster assistance.
"We look forward to this event," Bush said of the trade show, so that the community can be made aware of "the types of preventative help that is out there."
The trade show will be in progress from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In order to receive one of the small preparedness kits, an individual must be a food stamp program participant or have a recipient card, Hildebrandt said.
Meanwhile, on Friday, a "natural hazards management" forum is scheduled at Marriott's Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort, where banking and insurance representatives will be on hand to answer questions. The event, from 9 a.m. to noon, is being presented by VITEMA and the SBDC and is open to the public without charge.
Panelists will discuss disaster preparedness planning, insurance, mitigation, earthquake and hurricane preparedness and exemplary paractices in emergency management. Bush said the forum will bring together service providers who can help guide consumers through the process of making homes and businesses weather ready.
Hurricane experts have predicted a mild to moderate 2002 hurricane season. Even so, Bush said, one of the points of holding trade shows and forums year after year is that they help instill a readiness mindset, so that if any kind of disaster should strike, Virgin Islanders will find their response is almost second nature.
For more information call the SBDC at 776-3206 or VITEMA at 774-2244.
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