In response to the devastation incurred by Hurricanes Maria and Irma, an ongoing donation drive to benefit relief efforts in Puerto Rico will be accepting both itemized and monetary donations through Nov. 30.
The donation drive is working through the initiative “United for Puerto Rico” to provide humanitarian aid to the region. The charity, created by First Lady of Puerto Rico, partners with a myriad of corporations in the private sector including Walgreens, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft.
“100 percent of the proceeds will go to helping the victims affected by these natural disasters in Puerto Rico,” the website for the organization claims.
“Bonnie [Solivan] was the one who spearheaded the effort,” Joanne Rafferty, Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development, wrote in an email to The Argus. “Bonnie wanted to do something since she has family in Puerto Rico and she reached out to me for some help.”
In September, with news of her endeavor spreading through word of mouth, Solivan began collecting items among colleagues immediately after the storms. In the meantime, she searched for the right organization that could bring the materials to Puerto Rico. After Solivan settled on United for Puerto Rico, Rafferty distributed flyers to other staff, and then reached out to students through a campus-wide email.
These relief efforts combined with a recent Caribbean themed late-night dinner, hosted by the Caribbean Student Association, that took place on Nov. 2.
A flyer distributed throughout the University described the event as “a fundraiser for hurricane relief programs in Caribbean regions affected by recent hurricanes.”
With over 100 individuals attending, $969 was raised, according to Ashley Luthers ’19, who was involved in the event’s operation.
In addition to monetary donations, the donation drive is accepting bottled water, hand sanitizer, canned and dry pet food, mosquito repellant, diapers, canned milk, canned and dry food, towels, blankets, solar lights, pillows, first aid kits, can openers, dry snacks, trail mix, books, and kids’ toys.
These items can be dropped off in Usdan, SALD offices, room 114 of the Political Affairs Center, and at the Exley Science Center’s help desk. After items are dropped off, they will be taken to a central depository in New York, and from there they will be taken to Puerto Rico.
In a statement on their website, United for Puerto Rico says the optimal way to contribute is through a monetary donation due to shipping costs and backlogs.
Mason Mandell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MasonMandell.