Thursday's D3 Daily Action: Help Puerto Rico

THEY ARE AMERICANS TOO!

According to the NY Times, more than half of Americans don't know that Puerto Ricans are US Citizens. But today, more than three million Americans in Puerto Rico are struggling to meet basic needs after a devastating strike from Hurricane Maria, but their plight seems to be attracting far less public or political attention than the woes caused by the recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida.

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Here’s how you can help.

Cash. Most organizations are asking for cash, rather than supplies, so they can route help to where it’s needed most more quickly. Here are some of the largest groups with campaigns underway:

GoFundMe has also created a hub that includes all campaigns for Hurricane Maria. You can also find campaigns for individual families seeking help for loved ones.

Supplies. The government of Puerto Rico has also launched a guide that details how individuals or companies can donate emergency and construction supplies (from bottled water, hand sanitizer and formula to extension cords, tarp and safety glasses). The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) is coordinating many of these donations here (and corporate giving here). 

Volunteers. Once infrastructure is stable, the island will also need volunteers. VOAD is a good place to start. It can help match you with organizations with efforts already underway.

Spread the word. Part of the problem is that much of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean isn’t able to ask for help, due to loss of power and infrastructure.

Facebook has a safety check page for victims and their families to check in with each other, as does Google Docs’ person finder. If you or loved one has access to any kind of cell or internet service, the American Red Cross also has an Emergency! App for saftey check-ins and updates. Univision launched an interactive page where you can search for updates on individual municipalities. Officials in Puerto Rico are asking people to report U.S. citizens who need emergency assistance to the State Department through its Task Force Alert program. Go to http://tfa.state.gov and select “2017 Storm Maria.”

Finding reliable ways to give, especially during times when multiple disasters intersect like they did this month, can be overwhelming. This list is a good place to start, but as always, do your own research to make sure your aid dollars go as far as they possibly can in the right direction. Visit Charity Navigator if you aren’t sure whether an organization is trustworthy.


You can also call Senator Cory Gardner and Senator Michael Bennet and ask them to ask them to waive the Jones Act an obscure shipping law that is keeping important supplies from our fellow Americans living in Puerto Rico. 


Content from the New York TimesPBS News Hour and Slate.com