From Astrid Perez Pinan:
“As you already probably know, my dear home land of Puerto Rico has been ravaged by hurricane Maria (after being hit by hurricane Irma). Since the country is still a colony of the US, it is not able to receive much help from other neighbouring countries without the approval of the US government. Hence, ‘people to people’ acts of solidarity can be very powerful in this context at this time when help has arrived so late and rescue efforts are so slow. I am therefore appealing to your sense of solidarity, and ask you to please note below some of the channels through which a donation can make a big difference. I have personally checked on each of these organizations (in consultation with my brother who is in San Juan).
- The Solidarity Brigade on the West side of the island is a local network of volunteers and activists– I personally know someone working there in my town of Mayagüez and they are doing really genuine and good work clearing country roads, delivering meals, products of immediate need, etc. You can donate via Paypal to this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The link to Paypal is: https://www.paypal.com/ca/webapps/mpp/send-money-online
- Comedores Sociales: This is a community meal sharing program. To make a donation, go to the top-right hand side of the page and click on ‘Hacer un donativo’: https://www.cdpecpr.org/comedores-sociales-de-puerto-rico
- Casa Protegida Julia de Burgos: This is a women and children’s shelter with a long history of solid work. There is a ‘donate’ bottom in the Facebook page www.facebook.com/pg/casajuliapr or you can transfer the money via Paypal https://www.paypal.com/ca/webapps/mpp/send-money-online to the following address: email@example.com
- The Ricky Martin Foundation is one I trust and has been very active helping people. They probably have more resources to reach the ‘hard to reach’ towns in the mountains. Donations can be made via the Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/RickyMartinFoundation/
Tragically, the help that is arriving from the US has arrived really late and is not reaching everyone fast enough. Some towns are still inaccessible by land and most of the Island is without electricity and water. More people have died after the hurricane than during the hurricane (official death toll not announced yet) but there are reports of morgues that are full, and of people burying their loved ones in shallow graves at this point.