On Sept. 20, the Category 5 Hurricane Maria touched down in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, leaving the entire U.S. territory without power. Government officials, celebrities and organizations are extending a hand to those affected by the devastation of the hurricane. Sometimes, as citizens, we can feel helpless when things like this happen, but here’s what others have been doing and what you can do to help Puerto Rico as much as you can.

 

The U.S. government has sent some aid to Puerto Rico. PHOTO COURTESY OF AIR FORCE SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

What the government is doing

  • Following the natural disaster, President Donald Trump has said that he will travel to Puerto Rico this week to meet with government officials and see how else the U.S. government can help the nation. This will be the president’s first trip there.
  • Since Maria touched down in PR, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent more than 10,000 federal workers to help with relief efforts on the island, and search and rescue teams have accessed 90 percent of PR.
  • The American Red Cross has mobilized to help PR by sending thousands of tarps, flashlights, batteries, blankets and hand sanitizer in response to Hurricane Maria. The organization has sent more than 5,400 meals and snacks to the territory.

 

What celebrities are doing

  • Stephen Colbert started a social media trend with comedian Nick Kroll to rally support from celebrities and raise awareness for PR. #PuberMe is a movement where celebrities post photos from their awkward teenage days on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. to raise money for PR. For every celebrity photo posted with the hashtags #PuberMe and #PuertoRicoRelief included the caption, Colbert has pledged to donate $1,000 from his Americone Dream Fund to the One America Appeal, an organization founded by former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter to provide relief for the victims of Hurricane Irma and Maria.
  • “Hamilton” playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, is in the works of creating a song, featuring exclusively Puerto Rican artists, to raise funds for the nation. Miranda, like other celebrities, has been quite vocal on Twitter in demanding more action from Trump in PR.
  • Beyoncé has remixed J Balvin and Willy William’s Spanish song, “Mi Gente,” and is donating all proceeds from the song to hurricane relief organizations working in PR.

 

What you can do

  • Donate to some of the disaster relief organizations that are collecting money to send to PR. Here is a list of the most popular organizations you can donate to online:
  • UNICEF
  • United for Puerto Rico
  • Global Giving
  • GoFundMe
  • For those looking for a more hands-on experience, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is sending volunteers to the areas hit by Hurricane Irma and Maria. Volunteers are needed for immediate relief, but the majority are needed to stay and help rebuild PR for years to come.
  • United for Puerto Rico is an organization created by the First Lady of Puerto Rico to provide relief for the victims of Hurricane Irma and Maria. The organization has been raising funds as well as collecting supplies for hurricane victims. Supplies include bottled water, baby wipes, canned food, garbage bags and towels. An extended list of supplies and what to donate can be found here.

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