It does not matter that Massachusetts is more than 1,800 miles away from the island of Antigua, because for those who were born there and who still have family there, Hurricane Irma hits home.
The images of the devastation are especially tough for Colette Phillips, who just came back to Boston after visiting family in Antigua right before the hurricane hit.
"The winds were unbelievable. My mother said it was howling and the house was shaking," Phillips said.
Her family is safe, but devastated. Her thoughts are with them and her friends on the island of Barbuda, considered uninhabitable after Irma. Phillips plans on going back at some point, but for now, she is setting up a donation fund at Eastern Bank hoping to help with the recovery.
Gerilynn Browne of Dorchester is searching for ways to help too. She is starting to collect donations of non-perishable food and clothing in hopes of getting it to her home island of Antigua soon.
"Sometimes the ports are damaged and it can take a long time," Browne said. "But having lived through hurricanes there, I know the sooner, the better."