Above: A photo from The New York Foundling’s Head Start program in Puerto Rico
Earlier in September, Puerto Rico was hit with back-to-back hurricanes, with Hurricane Maria causing the most damage. The entire island is without electricity, and now, a major dam is near its breaking point, threatening even more devastation.
Those who live in Puerto Rico are preparing for a long road to recovery, and those of us who are state-side are wondering how we can help our fellow Americans in the months ahead. Here are 5 small steps you can take that can have a major impact.
1. Donate to The New York Foundling’s Puerto Rico relief efforts. The New York Foundling operates Head Start and Early Head Start programs at 42 sites in Puerto Rico, employing more than 400 people and serving 1,500 children and their families. Any amount you can give to support the relief efforts in the areas we serve is appreciated. We have a donation page set up here.
2. Donate goods and supplies. Puerto Rico is in need of many supplies, including basics like water, diapers, towels, canned food, blankets, pillows and more. If you live in the New York City area, Mayor de Blasio has listed local drop-off sites where residents can deliver these goods.
3. Reach out to friends, colleagues, neighbors and those who have personal ties to Puerto Rico. A simple phone call, text message or email letting that person know you are thinking of them, and are available to lend a listening ear, can go a long way.
4. Stay informed! Keep up-to-date with media coverage and know what is going on in Puerto Rico. Rebuilding will take a long time, and it’s important to stay aware of what’s happening in the news to find out how you can help where needed in the future.
5. Continue to support relief efforts. It’s predicted that it could take months and even years for Puerto Rico to recover from the damage caused by the storms. In the months to come, remember to continue to support nonprofits and other organizations leading relief efforts on the island.