With Hurricane Irma leveling much of the Caribbean, retired NBA superstar Tim Duncan is speaking up and organizing relief efforts for his hometown area, the U.S. Virgin Islands.
He already donated $250,000 to jumpstart the giving, and as of this writing, his page has raised more than $890,000, with a goal of $1,250,000. He is also asking for supplies like food and clothing to be donated.
“Islands like ours tend to get forgotten after storms. We’re remote, which makes it hard to deliver supplies quickly, cheaply and adequately,” Duncan wrote in The Players’ Tribune. “A lot of people don’t think of the Virgin Islands as someone’s home, but as more of a getaway — it was only when I got older that I figured that out.”
His promise? To make sure every dollar raised goes directly to the people on the island rather than to administrative costs. He will be chartering a plane full of supplies and is already putting together a team to help manage the effort on the ground.
— The Players’ Tribune (@PlayersTribune) September 9, 2017
Duncan was 13 years old when Category 5, Hurricane Hugo ripped through St. Croix. The storm blasted his family’s windows as they sat in a small bathroom all night. They were the lucky ones. The roof on their home remained in tact, but overall, the town was destroyed.
“Hugo crippled the economy. People lost their businesses. Food prices went way, way up. For the next six months, parts of the island didn’t have power, and school was canceled for almost two months,” Duncan said. “We had to boil water to drink or cook. I got good at showering with a bucket. Without electricity, we had to get crafty to keep food and drinks cold. I remember tying ropes to jugs of milk or orange juice and then lowering them down into a cistern, which collects rainwater. The water was a lot cooler in there. I learned to adapt, like everyone else.”
Duncan knows, firsthand, the destruction a hurricane can cause. He’s not one to speak up often, but when he does, his words are always worth listening to.
If you’d like to make a donation to support the U.S. Virgin Islands and Duncan’s effort, go here.