How to help: Donate now to assist victims of the 2017 hurricane season

Hurricane Maria to stir rough sea along U.S. East Coast after slamming Caribbean. Follow our coverage:

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    North Texans collecting donations for hurricane victims in the U.S. Virgin Islands

    North Texans with ties to the U.S. Virgin islands are trying to help fix the devastation left behind by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

    Rashida Bess with Operation Rebuild Virgin Islands helped organize a donation drive in Mckinney, Saturday.

    "They're in desperate need of resources and supplies and aid, just don't forget us. It's more than just a vacation spot, it's home to many, many people," she said. "I am originally from St. Thomas Virgin Islands, that's my home."

    Bess lives in Mckinney now, but says she still has family and friends who live on the island,

    "Heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking. Extremely heartbreaking. I have an uncle and aunt that lost everything, that house is totally gone. I have friends and family that have lost everything. Just trying to get their spirit up and give them hope."

    Other's like John and Christine Kelly are Texans, but have lived in St. Thomas for the past three years. The Kellys left their home twelve days after Irma came through.

    "The island is devastated, there's no foliage anywhere, the beaches are destroyed, a lot of the wooden houses were just completely taken away," said John.

    The couple evacuated St. Thomas to Puerto Rico, only to have to evacuate again because of Maria. They are now staying with family in North Texas, and aren't sure when they'll be able to go home.

    "All of our windows got completely sucked out, the frames of the windows too. Tons of water came in the house so 100% of all furnishings are done," said Christine.

    Those from the islands tell FOX 4 many emergency resources helping the islands after Irma hit were wiped out when Maria came through. Now, they're hoping that help will come from the mainland.

    "That's when we as a community need to pull together and also give back to the U.S. Virgin Islands, because it is the United States, a territory of the United States. We cannot be forgotten," said Rashida Bess.

    Operation Rebuild Virgin Islands is planning to host another donation drive in Mckinney in October, and are also taking donations online. You can find information on how to help HERE.


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