Donations poured in and volunteers rushed to help: Here’s how communities in Martha’s Vineyard reacted to the arrival of migrants
In the hours after around 50 migrants landed on Martha’s Vineyard in two planes sent by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the island’s community – still shocked by the unexpected arrival – rushed to help newcomers.
“We got food, we got clothes, we got… different things, so much so that we had to move that donation drop-off location to the fire department,” the admin of CNN told CNN on Wednesday. the town of Edgartown, Massachusetts, James Hagerty.
City officials even had to post on social media that they didn’t need more donations, Hagerty added, as the stories kept pouring in.
“I think it’s a testament to the community on the island and it’s a testament to the citizens of Edgartown, it’s a testament to everything that’s happening now,” he said.
“We’ve been through Covid, we’ve been through hurricanes, we’ve been through this, we’ve been through a lot of things imaginable for a small community and every single one we’ve built into a Vineyard, because we’re resilient,” Hagerty said. “We take care of our own, we take care of the community, we help people.”
The city is no stranger to large influxes of people. Located off the coast of Massachusetts, the island of Martha’s Vineyard, home to Edgartown and several other municipalities, is known as a chic summer destination for wealthy vacationers.
While the city’s winter population is a few hundred people, it increases to several thousand during the warmer months when they welcome summer tourists, Hagerty said.
An estimated year-round island population of around 20,000 can balloon to over 100,000 during peak tourist season.
But the challenge with the arrival of the migrants this week was that they were unexpected, the city administrator said, and everything happened “at the last minute”.
In addition to donations, the island’s towns as well as community and non-profit groups are contributing to the effort to care for migrants and provide them with shelter, food and care, according to a Facebook post of Dukes County government.
“We are grateful to the many members of the local and neighboring community who have reached out with offers of support,” county officials wrote in the post.
Now, Hagerty said, the biggest help city officials need is financial: Migrants have a variety of needs, including moving to another city in the United States and getting transportation there.
“We’re trying to handle this as best we can,” Hagerty said. “The needs are diverse and financial support would best facilitate many of these diversities.”
The arrival is the latest in a series of actions by Republican governors to ferry migrants to liberal northern cities and states to protest the Biden administration’s policies on the southern border.
Also this week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he sent two busloads of migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in the nation’s capital, and Thursday’s arrival surprised unsuspecting volunteers. Democratic leaders denounced the moves, and the White House press secretary called the actions “cruel and premeditated political stunts.”