Bring Hope To The Isolated: Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief

Hurricane Maria brought fierce destruction to the island of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory home to about 3.4 million people. The island has no power, and the situation there is worsening by the day. Our fellow Americans are at risk of malnutrition, dehydration, disease, and death from the conditions at this point.

The images of the destruction in Puerto Rico are disturbing. The situation is almost apocalyptic. The power grid is down, the generators need gasoline to run, gasoline is scarce, the ATM machines are running out of cash if they even work, and water is scarce. Those effected need to bring in enough water to bathe and also it takes about one gallon of water to flush a toilet which needs to be brought in to apartments in high-rise buildings that could be twenty floors up.

I put myself in their shoes, in that situation, and I have to try to do something besides just sending in some money, which is a good start. However, this is a much larger effort and something has to be done. The federal government has to get some emergency funds allocated since FEMA is so stretched from the other recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida, and that has to be a top priority.

I have seen certain drives for fundraising or for gathering gifts-in-kind (supplies) taking place in New York City, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and other cities. We need more of those types of events from a grassroots level.

I know it can be difficult to determine how to trust that the charity will allocate your money to the actual relief effort in Puerto Rico. I know that the island territory feels isolated and cut off from the world. These people are our sisters and brothers. They are fellow Americans, and we must act to help them.

Here are some charitable organizations that have active operations there:
Convoy of Hope :
Samaritan’s Purse:
Salvation Army:
Food For The Poor:

These organizations are highly reliable and transparent. Please donate whatever you can to help in the efforts of relief for what is a dire situation in Puerto Rico.

Some other ways that you, your family, or your community can give:
1. Organize a local fundraiser and send the funds to these charities
2. Collect donations at your workplace, job site, or office these charities will provide written letters of receipt for your donation
3. Start a fundraiser or supply collection (food drive) at your local church or community center or with an organization you may be involved with
4. Contact your local representatives in Congress and ask them what I call the two questions: What are you doing Senator X or Rep. Y to help with aid to Puerto Rico? What can I do to help aid in this effort?
5. Contact your local organizations: Lions Club, Knights of Columbus, Rotary, Elks Club…and find out if they have a fundraiser you can help with.
6. Get your friends from school together or work together on social media and decide on an event you can create and promote locally and then send those proceeds to the relief effort.
7. Pray for the people there and pray for guidance on how to best serve and help them in this time of great need.

In the event that you have relatives, friends, associates, or colleagues in Puerto Rico and you have not heard from them; please call this number: 202-778-0710 and keep trying because it might be busy. This number will allow you to get the latest information and check on the status of your loved ones there on that ravaged island.

In my own life, I have visited Puerto Rico on a cruise during my honeymoon. I have very fond memories of the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, the Fort (El Morro), and the white sand beaches. Those places are decimated, the people there are living in very dangerous conditions. They could survive the storm and die of malnutrition or starvation. The children on that island are the most vulnerable as are the elderly.

I ask you to put yourself in their shoes, and search your soul. We are all capable of doing something, and the time for action is now. Please help the people of Puerto Rico. Thank you and God bless you and God be with the people of Puerto Rico.

Haiti After Hurricane Matthew

It has been a week since Hurricane Matthew roared through the small island nation of Haiti and decimated the towns and villages there. Some areas have been wiped completely out of existence by the ferocious Category 4 storm. The death toll is catastrophic with one estimate by Reuters of 1,000 lives and other estimates between 500 and 700 lives.

The aid for this desperate nation has been slow to materialize. A report by NBC News with sources from the U.N. stated that the outlying areas of Haiti have no clean water supply and no antibiotics. The spread of cholera is a real concern in the conditions there and medical supplies as well as food supplies are limited in many areas which will lead to more deaths unless that situation rapidly improves.

The loss of basic human services will create conditions where other diseases will take the lives of the elderly and the children. The destruction has displaced families and orphaned children who then have to travel several miles on foot, often while injured, to get medical attention. Then, upon arrival they are told that there are no supplies or medicines to provide that treatment.

The situation in Haiti is a humanitarian disaster. The U.S. Marines, as many news agencies have reported, have been very active in deploying to remote areas in helicopters with supplies but the need is tremendous and they need more help.

In my career I have worked in the non-profit sector and the healthcare sector. I worked for an organization that provided medical supplies and pharmaceuticals to Haiti. The situation there has seen long periods of instability, corruption, and violence. A natural disaster such as Hurricane Matthew serves to exacerbate these issues.

However, there are also partner agencies and trusted NGOs as well as humanitarian operations through the U.N. that can provide the necessary support needed for this ravaged country to rebuild. The U.N. has announced an emergency campaign with that goal in mind. The relief efforts have to be ramped up, and with the infrastructure there already compromised, the need for helicopter drops and coordinated supply routes remains crucial to the success of the entire relief operation.

Haiti is a neighbor to us and is in dire need of help. The impoverished nation will be forever altered by this disastrous storm. They need our support more than ever. In my experience with working with people who have supported operations on the ground there in the past, the roadway systems are not good in ideal conditions. This has played a key role in cutting off so many people in need of assistance that the U.N. estimates that 1.4 million people have received little or no assistance.

Furthermore, of that number about half of them, or about 750,000 people are in danger of dying from either starvation or disease. The emergency aid provided in the immediate future will literally save lives.

There are several relief agencies that are trusted which will be involved in the coordinated effort. Please consider supporting this cause by contacting the U.N. or The Red Cross to make a donation or determine which organizations will be aiding in this massive humanitarian operation.

You can make a difference in the lives of so many suffering people through your support. My prayers remain with all those impacted by Hurricane Matthew.