It’s been over two months since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States. Yet, many of its residents are without fresh water, and half of the island is still without electricity.
It’s estimated that over 300,000 Puerto Ricans, who are US citizens, left the island for the mainland. According to the Washington Post, that number could jump as high as 1 million, amounting to the largest migration in American history.
According to Madison community leaders, about 300 Puerto Rican families have moved to the area. Now, local supporters are coming together to fundraise for both the island and these new neighbors.
The lack of electricity on the island causes medical, educational, and financial issues for thousands, and here in Madison, groups are trying to help. Last Wednesday, Alfredo Martínez and WORT’s Tony Castañeda organized a salsa dance fundraiser. An estimated 600 people attended to help fundraise for the Puerto Rican Relief Fund of Southwestern Wisconsin. Resources are targeting the needs of Puerto Ricans in Madison and back on the island.
Other organizations across Madison and the country are doing what they can to help. “Madison for Puerto Rico,” a UW organization, has collected items across campus and formed care packages to help families displaced by the hurricane. Carlos Marti, says the organization has joined a group called UNIDOS set up collection locations across campus.The Adventist Development and Relief Agency on the western side of Puerto Rico helps to distribute these resources to those in need.
Another organization, Ciencia PR, in Puerto Rico is coordinating an exchange of educational resources. If are able to assist are in Puerto Rico and need help, you can fill out this form.
If you have a idea for a fundraiser, contact Alfredo at (608) 669-5579.
WORT reporter Alejandro Alonso Galva spoke with two of the organizers earlier this week.