Pam Engle and Sabrina Jureidini met on social media and joined forces to create Adopt-A-Family which is a volunteer organization that collects and ships supplies from donors on the mainland who each receive a wish list from a particular family in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Engle recalled how in the middle of the night she came across a post by Jureidini. "I was just sick and I said, 'We have to do something,'" Engle said. She recalled thinking, "'If we can get 20 or 30 families covered that would be great.'"
But now just weeks later their fledgling organization has sent supplies to more than 26,000 families.
"Everything we have been able to accomplish has been because of the support of our adopters and it's just been everybody getting the word out there, bringing awareness to the island and the need that's down there," Engle said. "We really think that they're making a difference, and it's that personal connection that really makes this unique."
Adopt-a-Family has a staff of 14 volunteers who have all been personally affected by the hurricanes this year.
"They are so just relieved to have that little box, little care package to get them through the week," he explained. "It's huge. Especially the kids and the elderly, these are two groups that we forget about in times of great need." Vernon Araujo, Director of Development at the Family Resource Center in the Virgin Islands explained.