Organizers with New Jersey for Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief, launched just hours after Hurricane Maria hit the island exactly five weeks ago, have donated $80,000 as part of ongoing emergency support.
“We chose three key partners for funding because they’re on the ground in Puerto Rico and understand the communities there,” said Samuel Delgado, a NJ4PR board member. “The Red Cross and Salvation Army’s first responders were the first on the scene, and the Boys and Girls Clubs have 13 centers throughout the island.”
In attendance at the presentation ceremony on October 25 in Jersey City were elected officials and business representatives from across northern New Jersey, including: Rolando Lavara, Jersey City Council President; Senators Nellie Pou & Sandra Bolden Cunningham; Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, and Judge Mathias Rodriguez, NJ4PR Treasurer.
“We all know what Sandy did to New Jersey – in Puerto Rico, the winds were even stronger. Anyone with a house made of wood no longer has a home,” said Judge Rodriguez. “I know I’ll be here to commit to this effort for the long run. We’re going to have to address the needs of those who flee the devastation, because they have nothing.”
Fund organizers presented checks to the Salvation Army, New Jersey Division, the American Red Cross – New Jersey Region, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico. In just 33 days, donations ranging from $5 to $30,000 have been pledged, by mail and through the organization’s website, NJ4PR.org.
Eduardo Carrera of Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico knows firsthand the need on the island – because he returned from Puerto Rico just days ago.
“We’ve come here to raise awareness,” said Carrera in his remarks upon accepting a $30,000 check from NJ4PR. “Even before the storm, a large percent of children on the island were living in poverty. Can you imagine how they’re living now?”
“This is a chance for us to remake our island,” Carrera said. “We’re here for the long run, and being here for the long run requires us to reimagine what’s possible for Puerto Rico.”
“We have hundreds of American Red Cross workers on the ground in Puerto Rico, including seven from New Jersey,” added Jocelyn Gilman, American Red Cross Executive Director for Northern New Jersey. “Supporters like New Jersey for Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief help us not only in conducting critical disaster relief, but in connecting families, which might be even more important for recovery.”
“This donation will make the great work we do on the ground in Puerto Rico possible,” said Maj. Charles Blacom, accepting the $30,000 check with his wife, Maj. Rose Balcom, on behalf of the Salvation Army. “Thank you for continuing your efforts.”
To learn more or donate to NJ4PR, visit nj4pr.org. Supporters can also call the New Jersey Helpline, 1-833-NJ-HELPS, to find drop-off locations for donations of supplies, tools and medicine.