The entire island of St. John has been without power since Sept. 6. And basically without much cell or internet service either, thanks to the devastating Hurricane Irma. So, six very, very long weeks. And while Kenny Chesney is doing everything he possibly can to start the rebuilding process, so is Jenn Manes.
Manes writes about everything St. John for the News of St. John blog. It’s her job to spread the word about what’s working — and not working — on the island. After the storm hit, her dad in Connecticut is the one who first sent her word that, “Kenny’s team is coming. You’re all going to be OK.”
Manes went up to Chesney’s island home right after she received her dad’s text, and found 17 people taking shelter there. And in addition to welcoming people into his house, Chesney also stocked a plane with generators, internet equipment, rakes, shovels and other cleanup equipment — plus people who knew how to help — flew it all to St. Croix, then transferred everything and everyone to a private helicopter to get to St. John.
That made Chesney’s team the first ones on the ground in St. John, even before the U.S. military. And during the first few weeks after the storm, Manes reported that Chesney’s group kept sending loads of food, water, emergency supplies, medicine, medical equipment, chainsaws, generators, cleanup equipment, bug spray, batteries and flashlights and more to the Virgin Islands. It’s all part of his Love for Love City Foundation.
“They did so using private jets, private helicopters, private charter boats and fishing boats, and ferries. The private boats — the majority came from St. Croix — donated their time and fuel. So a huge thank you to the residents of St. Croix who stepped up in a big way to help our community when we needed it most,” Manes wrote.
And now, even without any power, Chesney is trying to start the rebuilding process. His foundation has partnered with Bloomberg to send 29 New York State Troopers down to St. John to help with security. “I’m gonna do everything that I possibly can to try to relieve some stress from people that I’ve really grown to love over the years, who have meant so much,” Chesney said.
Support the Love for Love City initiative directly, either by sending money or by buying Love for Love City t-shirts and caps through Chesney’s website. All the proceeds from those sales will be directed toward supporting those affected.