Hurricane Maria will go down in history as one of the most powerful storms to hit the Caribbean. Maria, a powerful category 4 hurricane, hit Puerto Rico early Wednesday morning (September 20th, 2017). The aftermath is devastating, one that will take months, or years, to repair.
A little over 2 weeks ago, Hurricane Irma devastated Caribbean islands, including USVI, Barbuda and St. Barths, only brushing over Puerto Rico, causing minimal damage. Hundreds of puertorricans travelled by boat to provide them with first aid supplies, food, water and assistance. Like many of us, they realized it could have been them and by some miracle, they had been spared.
While it may bring some relief to share impressive photos or update our Facebook status, that won't change the facts. We can continue watching the news and scrolling over hundreds of devastating videos and headlines, or we can do something about it (in any way we can).
"never stop believing in the wild possibility that is you + your impact. live in purpose on purpose. go now. I'll meet you there"
Here are 4 ways you can help Puerto Rico today:
1. Raise Awareness
If you live in a major city, find local fundraisers and meet-ups being held by fellow Puertorricans. Share these events with everyone you know. They will be collecting donations and items to fly back to Puerto Rico as soon as possible. Here are the ones that have recently been announced (we will continue updating the list as time goes on):
New York City: Thursday, September 21st. [ 285 Madison Ave.] at 6:00 PM
Boston: Sunday, September, 24. [La Fabrica Central] at 3:00 PM
Washington DC: Tuesday, Sept 26. [Sauf Haus] at 6:00pm
Los Angeles: TBD
2. Donate to trustworthy organizations
If you're going to donate money, make sure you do so via a trustworthy organization. ConPRmetidos is a non-profit based in Puerto Rico, with the sole purpose of boosting Puerto Rico's economy and supporting it in any way it can. They have organized a fundraiser and you may donate by visiting this link.
Cellphone connection has been lost in the majority of Puerto Rico. Family members living in the US are trying to reach their loved ones, without success. Provide support by easing the stress this may be causing those around you with family members in Puerto Rico. To help connect family members, some have posted messages such as: "If you're in #Puerto Rico and have access to internet but no cellphone reception, I am open to call your family oversees and let them know you are ok. Send me an inbox or comment below. #heretohelp" on Facebook..
4. Make a change
Become increasingly conscious about how our behaviors, actions and decisions impact the world and affect Mother Nature. Take these recent events as signs that our lifestyle has a profound effect on not just our bodies and minds, but also our neighbors and surroundings. Start learning about how to live greener, recycle, stay away from plastic, eat more plants and less animal products, cultivate awareness. It will take a global effort to reverse the damage we are witnessing, but our actions and example can multiply, ultimately creating a ripple effect and hopefully, someday, changing the world.
By: Dr. Francesca Vazquez