Virgin Islands Puerto Rican Friendship donation

Maria Colon-Clarke, Virgin Islands Puerto Rican Friendship Committee President, sort through bags for distribution to social services workers Friday.

ST. CROIX — During a brief ceremony Friday morning at the Herbert Grigg Home for the Aged, members of the Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico Friendship Committee made a presentation to the staff of the Department of Human Services’ Senior Citizens Affairs and the staff at the senior home.

The presentation included 200 gift bags, each containing madras face masks handmade by local seamstress Claudia Emmanuel, bottles of hand sanitizer, disposable gloves and a variety of snacks.

Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico Friendship Committee President Maria Colon-Clarke said the members of the organization realize the importance of the workers to the overall care of senior citizens in the community and wanted to show their appreciation.

“We know how serious COVID-19 is and how detrimental it could be to the lives and health of our seniors and we wanted to do our part to help keep everyone safe,” she said. “I think this is a time where the entire community should be appreciative of the staff and all essential workers as they continue to work on the frontline in social services and health care during this global pandemic.”

St. Croix Administrator Sammuel Sanes, who is also a career social services provider, said he knows the struggle of the frontline workers and appreciates the donation.

“It has been a trying year and we have to come together like this and appreciate each other. I know the work they do and I’ve seen many homes across the nation and I must say they give great care and respect to the residents here at Herbert Grigg,” he said. “I really want to thank the staff for the work they do, taking care of the elders, our grandparents and our community on a whole.”

Human Services Commissioner Kimberley Gomez said she can testify to the hard work and level of dedication maintained by the staff and thanks the organization for thinking of them.

“When the governor said we are preparing to reopen the territory, I’m like reopening what?” Gomez said. “We never closed, we’ve maintained the dedication throughout this entire thing,” she said. “When we decided to close visitations it was a difficult decisions but this was for the health and safety of not only residents but also for the staff. We have to protect each other.”

Colon-Clarke said the committee is grateful for the opportunity to give to the community and said the donation is just one of many initiatives they are working on as they move toward the Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico Friendship observation in October.