The usually picturesque tourist destination with clear blue water and vibrantly colorful landscapes has been reduced to flooded roadways, dilapidated homes, and apocalyptic conditions since Hurricane Maria made landfall last week in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane.
Just two weeks after Hurricane Irma caused devastation in the Caribbean, Maria’s destruction has left millions of residents without power, fuel, food, or water. Governor Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico estimates that 97 percent of the island is still without power and running water.
Hurricane Maria is responsible for 16 deaths in Puerto Rico, with the survivors forced to ration what little supplies remain. FEMA has been providing some lifesaving resources to the U.S. territory, but Puerto Ricans could use any additional help they can get to rebuild. Here are ways you can help from Baltimore.
Baltimore native and NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony has created a crowd-funding campaign to help bring relief to the devastated island. To date, it has raised more than $200,000 toward the one million dollar goal.
“Hurricane Maria has caused catastrophic damage in Puerto Rico and the residents will need our help and support to rebuild,” he wrote on the page. “Please join me in raising the necessary funds to get the much-needed supplies and assistance to the people of Puerto Rico.”
The First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló, has also teamed up with corporate giants like Coca Cola, Walmart, and Walgreens to help raise money for hurricane victims with United for Puerto Rico.
Fit4Mom Baltimore City, a local group dedicated to fitness and motherhood, will be hosting “$5 Stroller Strides for Puerto Rico” on Friday, September 29. For each mom that comes to the stroller-based fitness class, the group will donate $5 to United for Puerto Rico. After the class there will be a trivia contest and with every correct answer, Fit4Mom will donate an additional $5.
“I reached out to two former clients, one with most of her family in Puerto Rico, and one who relocated there not too long ago, to get a recommendation for a local organization we could send money to,” said Rachel Wagner, owner of Fit4Mom Baltimore. “Unidos por Puerto Rico was the only one recommended, and upon researching is also the initiative that five of our former presidents are promoting via the One America Appeal, so my decision was easily made.”
Washington D.C. nonprofit Run Hope Work is sponsoring a 5K run in Washington D.C. on October 1 to benefit victims of Hurricane Maria. A donation of $25 or more will grant you entry to the race and a Puerto Rico bandana. All funds raised will be donated to the nonprofit Friends of Puerto Rico to help rebuild the island.
SalsaNow, a local dance company that provides lessons in Latin dance, will host a fundraiser dance on Friday, October 6 at Game to help victims. For $10 participants will receive admission, lessons, and dancing.
The Salvation Army welcomes volunteers to travel to Puerto Rico to assist in numerous capacities like offering food to rescue workers and survivors or providing emotional and spiritual support to victims. In August, Chas Eby, communications director for Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), told us that Marylanders should consider contacting known organizations to get involved.
“There is a website that local residents can go to, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster,” he said. “The organizations listed are reputable and will be more than happy to accept help from anywhere they can get it.”