Hurricane Maria, the fifth-strongest storm to ever hit the United States, roared through Puerto Rico last week, flattening the island. Unfortunately, the devastation caused by Maria is taking a backseat to distracted Americans more worried about what NFL players do during the national anthem. But there are ways you can help.
The 3.4 million Americans citizens who live in Puerto Rico suffered major losses. They had homes destroyed, streets flooded, power grids decimated, widespread internet outages, and dams teetering on the brink of collapse, leaving Puerto Rico in shambles. The bulk of the island still doesn’t have water to drink and can’t even call for help because only 25% of cellphone towers survived the storm.
“There’s a humanitarian emergency here in Puerto Rico,” Governor Ricardo Rosselló told the Associated Press. “This is an event without precedent.” The current U.S. president, Donald Trump finally took a break from bashing the NFL to tweet about the island’s plight, and did order federal assistance to the island, but has been slow to send a financial plan to Congress. In fact, the White House isn’t expected send Congress a plan for a week or two. But there is a lot more work that can be done to help without the help of those distracted by how others choose to express themselves during a song.
Here is a list of ten charities put together by Fast Company that could use some resources to help those in Puerto Rico. But they also suggest using Charity Navigator. It is a good resource for picking the right charity.
Here’s how you can help right now:
1)In Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico’s first lady Beatriz Roselló set up Unidos por Puerto Rico to connect the private sector to those in need. Donations can be sent in a variety of ways, including PayPal.
3) In the New York area: The Hispanic Federation teamed up with New York politicians including the mayor and members of Congress to launch “Unidos”: A Hurricane Relief Fund for Hurricane Maria Victims in Puerto Rico, which will give 100% of its proceeds to hurricane relief and recovery efforts. Per the website, to donate via text, text to number 41444. Type UNIDOS (space) YOUR AMOUNT (space) and YOUR NAME. (For example: Unidos 100 John Doe) Then press “send” and click on the link to complete your donation. Or just donate here.
7) GoFundMe created a central page for Hurricane Maria relief campaigns, check it out here.
8) Volunteer disaster relief organization All Hands needs help rebuilding in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
9) Hurricane Irma and Maria Response group AmeriCares said they are working with officials in Puerto Rico to stock emergency shelters with medical supplies. This is in addition to their airlift of $1.8 million worth of medicine and supplies to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
10) Crowdfunding site GlobalGiving, which connects donors to nonprofits and companies around the world, will focus on immediate needs of victims and on longer-term recovery efforts “run by local, vetted organizations,” per the website.
If you didn’t find a charity you liked, check out the Charity Navigator. While some Americans have the luxury of complaining about the NFL and burning clothing to make a statement, others are going without basic essentials and just might like to have that jersey that was set on fire. Please consider donating unwanted NFL jerseys to those in need.
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