Above: Elvira (left) offered to take suitcases full of Foundling donations for Puerto Rico down to the Island. She is pictured with Foundling Development Manager Elena. Elvira has a passion for helping those in need, and has dedicated much of her time to working with local organizations.
On a cold January day, New York Foundling volunteer Elvira boarded a plane bound for San Juan hauling two suitcases jam-packed with donated clothing and toys for children to be given to Foundling families impacted by the hurricanes in Puerto Rico.
“I took interest in helping in Puerto Rico because my husband is from Gurabo and we visit often,” Elvira says.
She had been to Puerto Rico in September, right before Maria hit. Luckily, she got out on a rescue flight mere hours before the airport closed. Since the storm, she’s been back and discovered members of her family had lost everything.
Elvira was drawn to helping The Foundling deliver our donations for a few reasons. The first being that The Foundling serves roughly 1,500 kids through its Head Start and Early Head Start programs across 42 sites on the Island. Head Start programming is something dear to Elvira because she had her own wonderful childhood experiences in the early education program here in New York. She attended a center in Jamaica, Queens, after her family immigrated to the United States from Ecuador.
The second reason she got involved with The Foundling is her dedication to local charity work.
“My goal is just to volunteer to help those who need it,” she says. “Especially locally because I remember the struggles my parents had to (endure) to ensure we would get ahead. So it’s just about giving back.”
And that’s just how she’s lived her life. She and her family regularly spend their time with organizations across New York City, doing everything from delivering Thanksgiving meals with her young son, creating a holiday event for families receiving social services, and sending boxes of goods and gifts to children in Peru and the Ukraine. She and her family have also participated in several charity runs and races.
“I’m humbled by the opportunity to help,” Elvira tells The Foundling, “even if it’s just a little help.”
Other relatives and friends also felt inspired to help after seeing Elvira’s photos online. They donated additional necessities to the New York Foundling’s Puerto Rico center in San Juan, which she was so grateful and thankful to see.
If you’re interested in volunteering or donating goods to Puerto Rico, please reach out to our Development department via email. You can also make a gift online to our Puerto Rico relief fund. Thank you for your ongoing support.