How to Make Donations to Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief [Video]
Puerto Rico has been devastated by not one but two back-to-back hurricanes—Irma and Maria—with 13 people perishing in the storms and millions more living without food and clean water in the aftermath. The island's governor warned this week that its residents will face a "humanitarian crisis" if the U.S. commonwealth's "apocalyptic" conditions are not swiftly addressed, and the $1 billion in infrastructure damage is not rebuilt. To that end, as of Thursday, September 28, the Trump administration has temporarily waived the Jones Act, a regulation designed to protect U.S. shipping interests that required all shipments between the mainland and island to be made by American-made, -owned, and operated vessels, allowing more supplies to reach the commonwealth's survivors faster.
Here's how U.S. citizens can step up to the proverbial plate and lend a hand—or much-needed food—to Puerto Rico.
How to Make Donations to Help Puerto Rico
If you'd like to send money to an organization dedicated to Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma relief in Puerto Rico, here is a list of places you can start with:
Global Giving's Puerto Rico & Caribbean Hurricane Relief Fund: This fund has a goal of raising $2 million, which will "provide relief to survivors in the form of emergency supplies like food, water, and medicine in addition to longer-term recovery assistance to help residents recover and rebuild," its funding website says. The money will go to help victims in Puerto Rico, Dominica, and the Virgin Islands.
The Hispanic Federation: This organization has established "Unidos: A Hurricane Relief Fund for Hurricane Maria Victims in Puerto Rico," a fund that will "help hurricane victims and the recovery efforts through fellow community and civic organizations in Puerto Rico," according to its website. You can donate via text, web, or in person. (The Hispanic Federation's offices are located in New York City.)
United For Puerto Rico: This fund, established by the first lady of Puerto Rico, has some big-name sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Burger King, and Bacardi. But the fund is still looking for private donations, which you can make via PayPal, for "the purpose of providing aid and support to those affected in Puerto Rico by the passage of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria," according to the fund's website.
UNICEF: "UNICEF USA is mobilizing to get immediate, critical support to the children of Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria," according to its website, and it needs donations to do so. You can donate money to its Puerto Rican efforts online.
One America Appeal: Run by former U.S. presidents, this organization has a relief fund for hurricane victims that has been expanded to include Puerto Rico. You can donate online, and make a note on the donation where you would like your money to go.
How to Donate Food to Puerto Rico
If you'd prefer to donate goods—such as food and water—for Puerto Rico relief, you can do that, too. Here are ways you can get the supplied to people in need.
The Puerto Rican Leadership Council, located in Florida, is accepting donations of food and water at various locations in Miami and Hollywood, Florida. For additional information about these locations and donations that are needed, you can contact the leadership council on Facebook.
If you live in the Orlando area, several organizations are collecting donations of food, water, medicine, clothing, diapers, bedding, pet food, and much more. You can view a list of places to donate in Orlando here.
In New York City, several firehouses and emergency medical service stations are serving as drop-off sites for food, water, medicine, and other supplies for hurricane victims. You can view the drop-off locations, as well as the drop-off hours, here.
Also in New York, the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization is hosting a donation drive on Saturday, Sept 30 in the Bronx, and needs donations of clothing, non-perishable food, and other goods. You can contact the organization here for details.
United For Puerto Rico has also produced a list of the most-needed donation items for the victims in Puerto Rico. You can read through it, then contact the organization to get information on how to best send the supplies to the island or specific people.
When donating food to Puerto Rico, it's best to gather non-perishable foods that will keep without the need for refrigeration, and that are edible without cooking. Those foods might include canned beans, peanut butter, canned tuna or chicken, canned fruit, nuts and seeds in plastic containers, applesauce, dried fruit, and bottled water.
Update September 28, 2017: This article has been amended to include the lifting of the Jones Act for goods being shipped to Puerto Rico.