Beyond the Bio

Rumberger Cares: Firm Donates Food, Supplies and Money to Hurricane Victims

Rumberger Cares: Firm Donates Food, Supplies and Money to Hurricane Victims

100 Care Packages were Hand-delivered to St. Croix Along with Monetary Donations to the American Red Cross

Earlier this month, Jazmin Bermudez, a secretary in RK’s Miami office, checked three huge rolling duffel bags filled with food and supplies onto her flight to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands to help families in need. She was carrying food such as powder evaporated milk, baby food, beans, rice, water purifier packets, mosquito bracelets, diapers, clothing and other needed supplies.

Watching three major storms devastate the region within three weeks’ time, Jazmin knew she had to do something. “I couldn’t wait. Coming from St. Croix, I knew relief for those families would be slow,” she said. “I wanted to do what I could to help. I knew that St. Croix had sent much of its own supplies to our sister island, St. Thomas, in the wake of Hurricane Irma and were not prepared when devastated by Hurricane Maria and then Hurricane Nate.” Before Hurricane Maria, St. Croix served as a hub of relief for St. Thomas and the other U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

Jazmin turned to her colleagues at RK who donated supplies and money for the trip. “They were amazing and donated everything I asked for and more,” said Jazmin. In total, she was able to collect enough supplies to help 100 families and 130 cases of water, which are to be shipped separately later this month once the port is confirmed as opened.

While the trip was twice delayed, Jazmin said it was well worth seeing the appreciation on the faces of those she delivered care packages to. “Most of the families were people I didn’t know because I wanted to support people who aren’t receiving supplies from family on the mainland and were waiting for assistance from relief agencies and the government,” she explained. “People were so happy to see a resident come back to help. It was both gratifying and overwhelming.”

“I really couldn’t believe my eyes as the plane landed,” recalled Jazmin. “I could barely recognize anything. There were open houses that had lost their roofs and debris everywhere,” she said. After delivering supplies, Jazmin spent time helping to clean up debris in elderly neighborhoods, as well as help clear roads that were keeping people from reaching distribution sites.

It’s hard to believe that they will have to endure at least another couple of months before 70 percent of the power is restored,” she said. “A lot of the workers are in St. Thomas since they were hit first. I feel terrible for them,” she said.

Jazmin moved to Miami in 2010 and works at RK along with her sister. She has brother living in California and two younger sisters living in St. Croix. Not originally from the island, Jazmin’s mother went to help after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, fell in love with the island and stayed. She’s a nurse at the only hospital on the island. Jazmin’s father, along with his family are from St. Croix.

In addition to collecting for this project, RK held a donation drive with the American Red Cross to assist those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

“The people in our firm are so generous,” said Jazmin. “I’m still receiving supplies and definitely plan to do something else to help. I’m looking into an organization that coordinates aid for students and hope to do something for them,” she said.