The news reports paint a grim picture. People in Puerto Rico, as well as other islands ravished by hurricanes Irma and Maria are in great need of even basic necessities, such as drinking water, food and medicine.
Much of the power grid was destroyed and communication is spotty at best. Officials say it will take months, even years, to rebuild infrastructure, including roads.
The Salvation Army Florida Divisional is coordinating donations from its Salvation Army Disaster Warehouse, 930 East 139th Ave., Tampa, to send supplies through various vendors to Puerto Rico.
Supplies have already been sent, including:
• Via assistance from a private jet owner, 3,000 pounds of MREs were delivered to San Juan from Florida.
• Fed Ex picked up from the Florida EDS warehouse, 52,200 bottles of water, 6,720 MREs, 1,000 cases of baby food, two pallets of tarps, four pallets of baby kits and four cases of water filtration systems.
• Fex Ex picked up from CVS a donation of 60,480 bottles of water and 4,530 bags of assorted snacks.
• FEMA dropped three 40 foot containers of food boxes at one of our distribution sites on St. Thomas. Awaiting access to the containers.
For more information about donations leaving from The Salvation Army Florida Warehouse to Puerto Rico, call Kevin Smith and/or Captain Mechelle Henry at The Salvation Army Florida Divisional Disaster Warehouse at 813-892-4337 or 813-903-0944.
A number of other charities are spearheading relief efforts and are asking for donations. Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.org, has put together a list of organizations responding to areas affected by the hurricanes, including Puerto Rico.
Donors can designate their donations to the cause on the organization's website. Links to some of the top-rated charities include:
Another charity devoted to helping Puerto Rico, an unincorporated U.S. territory, is United for Puerto Rico, which was started by Beatriz Rosselló, wife of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló. Visit unidosporpuertorico.com/en/ for more information.