The story of my first fundraising project
Hurricane Maria was a Category 5 hurricane that devastated Dominica, St. Croix, and Puerto Rico in September 2017. With winds as fast as 174 mph and 3,057 fatalities, it’s one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history to hit those islands.
Shortly after the hurricane, I did a project called the Rose Relief Foundation, to serve those who had been affected by the natural disaster. I raised over $2,000 with a GoFundMe, and collected hundreds of pounds of supplies to ship to Dominica and St. Thomas. We used the GoFundMe money to cover the shipping costs, and sent the supplies to Pichelin Gospel Mission Church in Dominica to be distributed to people who needed them.
In 2019, my family and I traveled to Dominica on vacation. My dad grew up there, and lived there until he was 18. As you can see from the photos, I met some of the people who were on the receiving end of my supply barrels. One woman who was selling souvenirs at a popular tourist site (Emerald Pool) gave me a free doll that she had handmade herself.
In a third-world country still recovering from a 2017 disaster in 2019, where many of the people have very little, that simple act of gratitude and selflessness meant the world to me.
My Rose Relief Foundation project showed me just how easy it is to make a real difference in someone else’s life. I thought I would struggle to raise just $500, but my family and friends were so supportive and helped me raise quadruple that amount!
Since then I’ve shifted my focus to a new project. This one. Protecting Planet A. My hope is that one day Protecting Planet A can have the same impact (or more) on real people that the Rose Relief Foundation barrels did.
Dominica is the most beautiful island, but when I traveled there I still saw so much under construction, piles of rubble on the side of the roads, even entire towns had been left abandoned since 2017. Many of Dominica’s 365 rivers overflowed their banks during the hurricane, and now the areas surrounding them are overgrown with forest instead of populated with people. They’re still in need, so I’m gathering supplies for another barrel to send soon.
I hope this motivates you, or inspires you to do a project like this. If you’re working on (or want to start) a similar project, contact me and I’d love to help you out! GoFundMe and your parent’s Facebooks are your best friend when it comes to fundraising, and we used AmeriJet to ship the barrels.
Giving back to your community, whether that be local or international, is so fulfilling and greatly appreciated by people in need.