Above: Photo of some of the damaged sustained by the Foundling’s Head Start sites in Puerto Rico.
When Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico on September 20, it left a trail of devastation behind. The category 4 storm hit home for The New York Foundling: Since 1984, we’ve run Head Start and Early Head Start programs on the Island, serving kids age 5 and under and their families in some of the most impoverished areas.
Today, we have 400 staff in Puerto Rico working with 1,500 kids and their families at 42 sites across San Juan, Cataño, Toa Baja, Vega Alta and Coamo. We had a major expansion just before the storm, making it possible for us to reach even more families in need.
Our buildings in these locations sustained extensive wind and water damage, and we are in touch with our staff daily about the state of the area and its people. The Foundling is working around the clock to assess the full scope of damage and every day we are making progress with clean-up efforts and getting our doors back open to the community.
While much of the Island is still in desperate need of help and assistance, we have some promising updates on what we’ve been able to accomplish:
- One of our locations where power has been restored is serving as a dialysis site for those in need of daily treatment
- 3 classrooms have re-opened
- In certain areas, we are providing our kids and their families with basic meals and snacks
We hope to open three more classrooms this week. Foundling staff continues to reach out to families in the community and take stock of everyone’s situation and needs.
We’re grateful for all of the people who have donated to support The Foundling in its efforts to get our programs up and running to provide our families, staff and their surrounding communities stability and services. We could not have made this progress without your generosity.
As we continue to assess the needs of our people and their communities, we will keep you updated. We are incredibly proud of our staff in Puerto Rico, who are so dedicated to their communities that they are working tirelessly in the face of adversity, grief and hardship.
Thank you for our continued support in the relief and recovery efforts.