As we all know, Hurricane Maria devastated the entirety of Puerto Rico when it hit the island as just under a category 5 storm on September 20, 2017. The death toll surpassed 50 people. And we also know that relief and aid for the people of Puerto Rico has been slow and difficult.
More than five weeks since the hurricane hit, about 80 percent of island residents still don’t have power. And it’s projected to be at least a few months before most people have electricity restored. On top of this, food, potable water, medicine, and other basic items are in short supply. Many Puerto Ricans have had to resort to drinking unsafe water, and recent reporting tells us of the serious risks of waterborne diseases that island residents are now facing. Of course, the economy is largely unable to function because of the situation, as well.
This has left many of us wondering how to help people in Puerto Rico. Because Trekker divisions operate in Puerto Rico, we recently announced a fundraiser for our employees there. But now we’d like to use our platform to spread some reliable information about ways you can help the general population and recovery efforts on the island.
How to Help People in Puerto Rico
Contributing funds is of course the easiest and most beneficial ways to help the residents of Puerto Rico with disaster relief. But it can be tricky determining which charities and organizations are reputable and actually direct all the donations they receive to where they’re needed. If you’d like to give some money to the cause, any of these six options is a good place to make your donation:
- United for Puerto Rico
- Hispanic Federation – Unidos
- Direct Relief (select “Puerto Rico” from the drop-down menu)
- Center for Popular Democracy – Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund
- Americares – Hurricane Maria Emergency Relief Fund
- Save the Children – Hurricane Maria Children’s Relief Fund
This is another way to help if you aren’t giving money, which is the preferred method. That’s because supply needs change regularly, and there are a lot of logistics involved in collecting, transporting, and distributing items. Take a look at the pages for requested material donations in this publication from United for Puerto Rico to see the most helpful things you can donate. Then, click over to this page on the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) website to arrange for your donation.
Start Your Own Crowdfunding Effort
If you have a large social media network, starting a crowdfunding drive can be a great way to raise money for Puerto Rico on your own. And the best part is, you can choose exactly where you want to direct the money you get. GoFundMe is a perfect place for this sort of initiative.
Go to Puerto Rico as a Relief Volunteer
Would you like to travel to the island and take a direct, hands-on approach to helping the people there? That’s great! Sign up as a volunteer with the Puerto Rico chapter of VOAD.