Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that slammed Puerto Rico last week, left millions of island residents — American citizens of the U.S. commonwealth — without electricity or reliable sources of water or food. The news of utter devastation across the island is alarming, but here are ways you can help from right here in the Hudson Valley:
A hurricane relief drive will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, October 1 at Starbucks at Ransley Square, 11 Merritt Blvd. in Fishkill. Organizers Francena Amparo, a Dutchess County legislator, and Phil Cordero, owner of Café con Leche in New Hamburg, each have family in Puerto Rico. Drop off items like water, non-perishable food, feminine hygiene product, toiletries, baby food, diapers, and children’s items. According to published reports, the donations will be delivered to the Puerto Rican Family Institute in Manhattan, then be shipped directly to Puerto Rico. Starbucks is giving each donor a free cup of coffee or tea.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is encouraging New Yorkers to volunteer, donate money, or donate goods at drop-off points throughout the state every day between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. The sites are accepting batteries, flashlights, portable lanterns, diapers, baby wipes, cases of water, and feminine hygiene products. All items must be unopened and in original packaging.
In the Capital Region, the drop-off point is at the Empire State Plaza Main Concourse. Downstate, you can donate at the Yonkers Armory, at 2 Quincy Place.
If you prefer to donate online, there are a bevy of charities who are helping with hurricane relief. Here are just a handful:
Global Giving is a crowdfunding site that’s highly rated by both Charity Navigator (an organization that vets charities) and the Better Business Bureau. Its goal is to raise $5 million for relief in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. As of Wednesday, it was doing pretty darn well, with $1,881,629 raised.
Americares is another highly rated, nonprofit charity that focuses on providing medical and health care.
United for Puerto Rico: Together Changing Paths, a 501(c)3 organization, operating under the guidance of the First Lady of Puerto Rico Beatriz RosselloÌ, has brought together businesses including Coca-Cola, Bacardi and Burger King to contribute relief funds.
Of course, there are the usual relief organizations as well: