Puerto Rico has just been hit by Hurricane Maria, which landed after almost 100 years of the last similar cyclone. Although Puerto Ricans prepared as they could with the time and supplies they had available after Hurricane Irma, no one was prepared to face a system with a completely unknown force. Maria has left Puerto Rico with fear, without electricity, without water, without communication and with much destruction.
Maybe you are like me, Puerto Rican in the Diaspora with my whole family in Puerto Rico and with a broken heart trying to find ways to help. Or maybe you live abroad and are interested in contributing to this emergency. Many times if we do not know how to help, or where to go first, we may feel discouraged.
For this reason, we share a list of different ways in which we can contribute to the cause, and be of help if you’re not currently in Puerto Rico.
How can you help if you are outside of Puerto Rico?
You can help by donating money, or basic necessities.
There are different ways you can donate. One of them is donating articles through organizations, or sending them directly by mail. You can also donate money to relief organizations located in both Puerto Rico and the United States. Some of these are:
You can also donate to individual fundraisers like the following:
Or you can become part of groups on social media that are currently working to help those affected in the same way:
Article drop off locations:
To donate to affected animal organizations in Puerto Rico:
2. Become a volunteer
Aside from donating directly from your pocket, you can become a volunteer by starting a fundraiser or disaster relief in your area, to send them to the individual organizations and funds mentioned.
3. Spread the word
Social networks are a vital tool during emergencies that you can use if you want to be of help. Share the links of organizations that are helping hurricane victims. It helps to water the voice about important news and emergencies that need to be propagated, since in the absence of electricity and Internet signal, Puerto Ricans can only communicate through the networks when the signal is allowed.
4. Provide emotional support
Going through a similar situation has a great impact not only physically but also emotionally. Many citizens have lost their homes and others are unable to leave their locations because of the flooding. If you have communication with Puerto Ricans that are currently on the island you can support them with words of encouragement and affirmation through a text message or messages on social media letting them know that you are there to help and that they are not alone.
If you have Puerto Rican friends, colleagues or employees residing outside the island that have relatives in Puerto Rico, let them know that they have your support. Ask how you can help them in this process and be patient. Although they spent the Hurricane outside the island, being away from their families and without communication, seeing the destruction of the country they love so much, causes them great anxiety, suffering, and distraction.