NEWARK, NJ — A group of local Latino elected leaders are encouraging those who want to help Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona to donate to a relief fund established by La Casa de Don Pedro in Newark.
Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz, along with Newark Council members Anibal Ramos Jr., Luis A. Quintana and Carlos Gonzalez have been in contact with Puerto Rico State Representative Eddie Charbonier Chinea to coordinate relief efforts.
“The people of Puerto Rico are once again facing devastation brought on by this hurricane and we want to help them as quickly as possible,” said Councilman Ramos, who has committed $1,000 to the fund. “Through La Casa de Don Pedro’s relief fund we will raise money that will directly support community based groups in the affected areas.”
Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sunday, Sept. 18, with winds of 85 miles per hour. The storm dumped 6 to 20 inches of rain on the island, causing widespread flooding and knocking out power. Nearly 85 percent of the island is without electricity. The hurricane made second landfall on Monday in the Dominican Republic.
“We stand together with the people of Puerto Rico and the people of the Dominican Republic during these devastating times,” said Councilman-at-Large Quintana, who also donated $1,000 to the fund.
The storm struck nearly five years after Hurricane Maria delivered a blow to Puerto Rico, causing widespread devastation and blackouts that lasted for months. Nearly 3,000 residents of Puerto Rico were killed.
“New Jersey has a strong connection with Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. When they are in need, we rise up to help,” said Sen. Ruiz. ”But in this storm’s aftermath, the U.S. government must hold the utility providers accountable for spending billions of dollars to rebuild an electrical grid that remains in a constant state of crisis.”
Peter T. Rosario, president and CEO of La Casa de Don Pedro, said the non-profit organization established a relief fund within 48 hours of the hurricane striking Puerto Rico. The funds raised will directly support emergency assistance groups assisting the affected areas.
“Hurricane Fiona devastated an island that was still suffering from Hurricane Maria five years ago,” Rosario said. “They need our help and we are mobilizing to do what we can to help our brothers and sisters, not only in Puerto Rico, but in the Dominican Republic as well.”
After meeting with elected officials and representatives from several community-based organizations in Puerto Rico, the collective decision was made not to collect donations of supplies due to logistical issues faced during Hurricane Maria.
Additionally, directing funds to a central relief fund will expedite getting funds on the ground. La Casa de Don Pedro has established a separate account to electronically transfer funds directly to Non-Governmental Organization accounts on a weekly basis.
The first recipient will be Ponce Neighborhood Housing Services located, which will be purchasing generators, gasoline, and supplies to several towns and villages that have been completely isolated by flooding. Local leaders will work with La Casa de Don Pedro to identify similar agencies in other parts of Puerto Rico and in the Dominican Republic.
You can make a donation on Cash app by sending funds to $LaCasaDeDonPedro. For more ways to give back, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.