Vicky Tsorlinis said she’s had many sleepless nights since Hurricane Irma hit Barbuda on Wednesday, an island in the Caribbean where approximately 50 of her relatives live.
“You want to be able to hear their voices. You want to be able to hear firsthand what they saw and what they experienced and what they think they can do in the part of rebuilding not only their homes but their lives.”
While she hasn’t heard from her family directly, Tsorlinis said she has received confirmation that her family is currently in Antigua, after being evacuated earlier this week.
But after seeing images of the devastation left by the hurricane, she was inspired to set up a book sale in the Beaches community in Toronto to help raise money to donate to those affected.
As many as 90 per cent of homes in Barbuda were destroyed, and damage there has been estimated at $150 million, said Gaston Browne, Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister.
On Saturday, Tsorlinis set up a table with dozens of donated books out front of 1967 Queen Street East.
“All the books on the table are $5 and people can actually make a monetary donation,” she said.
Tsorlinis said she will be in the Beaches community on Sunday, and for the rest of September to continue to raise money for Barbuda.
In Mississauga, Global Medic brought volunteers to help package 2,500 hygiene kits and 500 family emergency kits that will be flown to those islands impacted by the hurricane.
Inside the hygiene kits are toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and aqua tabs that will purify water.
“These kits are absolutely essential. Without them, families don’t have clean drinking water and they can’t keep their kids clean, so it’s important that we get it to them,” said Rahul Singh, executive director of Global Media.
–With files from Jesse Ferreras.