Medical student from Kitchener delivering supplies to people displaced by volcanic eruption in St. Vincent
KITCHENER -- A medical student from Kitchener is doing what she can to help people displaced by the volcanic eruption in St. Vincent.
Claire Matlock is studying in Kingstown, which is about an hour and a half south of La Soufriere.
"You just saw this atomic mushroom cloud shoot up into the distance," she said. "None of us had ever seen anything like it and it was mesmerizing and quite terrifying."
She's spent the past few days buying and delivering groceries and supplies.
Matlock has lived in the area since December. While she's currently in the middle of exams, she said she couldn't just sit inside and study during this time.
"We've got about 80 shelters up and running right now in converted public schools and parishes where they just throw some mattresses on the floor, it's very haphazard," Matlock said. "But also half the people that left that red zone were taken in by cousins and aunts or even just random families out of the goodness of their hearts."
Matlock said she posted on her Instagram about her plan to buy groceries and told her friends to send $5 if they wanted to help. Another friend did the same, and they were able to raise thousands of dollars overnight.
She said they've delivered items to people who lost their homes in the eruptions.
"There's as many off the grid as on the grid that need supplies," she said. "So, that's where our local friends come in. They say, 'Hey, I've got a cousin that took in a family, they need stuff.' So we say, 'Great, what's their address' and we go there."
Her school gave an extension for exams while they work to help the community.
"For somebody to buy them a whole bag of groceries that will go for two weeks and they're never going to meet them, it just, it warms their heart," Matlock said. "I think people tend to pay it forward when something like that happens."
She said any leftover funds will go towards rebuilding efforts so people can return to their homes.