The powerful storm devastated the island, and now organizations are rushing to lend a hand
Hurricane Maria has ravaged Puerto Rico, but there are many ways you can help.
Following the Category 5 storm, reports say that more 30 people are now dead. The Wall Street Journal reports that 15,000 people remain in local area shelters, and “more than 200 people lost roofs on their homes.”
What’s more, NBC News reports that one analyst predicts it could take “weeks if not months to restore power to the entire island.”
“The devastation in Puerto Rico has set us back nearly 20 to 30 years. I can’t deny that the Puerto Rico of now is different from that of a week ago,” Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner, Jenniffer Gonzalez, said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is one of a group of elected officials traveling to Washington, D.C., to urge the federal government to prioritize relief for victims of Maria.
“This is going to be a long, hard road for Puerto Rico, and this is a situation that will require billions of dollars in assistance,” he said at a press conference on Sunday.
Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez has committed to giving $1 million of her own money to disaster relief.
“What’s on my mind is what’s going on in Puerto Rico. The devastation is beyond belief,” Lopez told her fans. “Me and my cousins still haven’t been able to hear from our families over there… Today, Puerto Rico needs our help. I urge you to support and donate to the efforts of the First Lady of Puerto Rico,” she pled, referring to the United for Puerto Rico initiative.
But you don’t have to be an A-lister to give money. If you’d like to help, here are a few safe and effective ways:
Hispanic Federation: The Hispanic Federation, “a leading Latino nonprofit organization with more than 25 years of experience in providing disaster-relief assistance,” is teaming up with New York City officials including Mayor Bill DeBlasio and two members of Congress to raise money for relief from Hurricane Maria. “One hundred percent of the proceeds will help hurricane victims,” according to a statement.
To donate, supporters can send a text to 41444 using the following instructions: “Type UNIDOS (space) YOUR AMOUNT (space) and YOUR NAME (For example: Unidos 100 John Doe).”
Alternatively, you can donate online at hispanicfederation.org/donate.
United for Puerto Rico: First Lady of Puerto Rico Beatriz Rosselló has launched the United for Puerto Rico campaign, “a collaboration with the private sector, with the purpose of providing aid and support to those affected in Puerto Rico by the passage of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane María.”
Corporate sponsors include Coca-Cola, Walgreens, and Burger King — and the private sector can help, too. To donate to United for Puerto Rico, you can transfer any amount you choose to the organization’s official bank account (no. 0108501910, with 1First Bank), send a cash donation via PayPal, or call (787) 552-9141.
American Red Cross: Text MARIA to 90999, and you can automatically send the Red Cross a $10 donation. You can also call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit redcross.org to help.
The organization says that it evacuated over 10,000 people in Puerto Rico in the run-up to the hurricane, and has served nearly one million meals to victims both there and in the US Virgin Islands.
One America Appeal: As Moneyish previously reported, all five former, living US presidents — Obama, Bush 43, Clinton, Bush 41, and Carter — have joined forces to raise money for the One America Appeal. Initially begun as a response to Hurricane Harvey, the fundraising efforts have now expanded to reach victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. To donate to the cause, visit oneamericaappeal.org.
If you plan to give, remember that many unsavory scams arise in the wake of disasters, with imposters posing as charitable organizations and keeping the money they collect for themselves.
CharityNavigator.com says that, to avoid falling for these schemes, stick to established charities (like the Red Cross), avoid email blasts or telemarketers dialing for dollars, and don’t send supplies — the infrastructure may not be set up to ship and distribute them to the victims that need them most.
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