Jennifer Lopez may be donating $1 million to help American citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, but you can still support those in need even if you don't have that kind of money to shell out.
As of Wednesday, the death toll on the island is at 16, and 97 percent of the 3.4 million people living there are reportedly still without power. Half of the residents do not have running water, and access to food is becoming more and more scarce. Hospitals are struggling to keep dying patients alive due to a lack of electricity and diesel, and people fortunate enough to have power generators are waiting up to six hours in line to refuel at gas stations.
To put it plainly: Puerto Ricans are in need. So what can you do to help? It’s not as difficult as you may think.
Scroll down for five simple steps you can take right now, no matter where you are.
Spread the News
Puerto Rico First Lady Beatriz Rosselló started United for Puerto Rico, a relief initiative that clearly outlines ways of helping. The easiest is at the tip of your fingers. Simply share this link on social media channels and use any of the following hashtags to encourage others to learn more and step up: #UnidosPorPR, #UnitedForPR, #MariaPR, and #PrayForPuertoRico.
This presentation outlines exactly what people in the island need: canned milk, bottled water, baby wipes, dish soap, first-aid kits, diapers, towels, garbage bags, blankets, pillows, hand sanitizer, ropes, safety glasses, work gloves, extension cords, and hammers, among many, many other tools.
The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) has made it very easy to learn how to get these items to those who need it ASAP.
Send a Text Message
The Hispanic Federation is working with New York politicians to launch “Unidos: A Hurricane Relief Fund for Hurricane Maria Victims in Puerto Rico,” an initiative through which you can donate money via text message. Simply pick up your phone and send a text to 41444 following this format: Type UNIDOS (space) THE AMOUNT (space) and YOUR NAME. Hit send and donate—or simply click here.
Sign Up to Volunteer
If you’re willing and able to, you can register to sign up and potentially be selected to actually head to Puerto Rico to help through the National VOAD. Click here to register.
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Make a Financial Donation
And finally, one of the most powerful ways to help is to donate money. If you don't feel comfortable doing so by text, you can contribute to any of the below organizations.