Puerto Rico has one of the largest per capita JNC communities in the western hemisphere. Historically they have pushed the limits of rotary and 4-cylinder engines in drag racing, and was one of the first bastions of Japanese car culture outside of the land of the rising sun. Beyond their place in the annals of JNCing, the island itself has a vibrant and beautiful culture unique to anywhere else in the world. So far, 2017 has been a year of insurmountable tragedy for the island nation with the one-two punches from hurricanes Irma and Maria. A week after Irma hit the island prior to stalling over Houston, Maria landed a direct hit on the island as a full category 5 storm with winds as high as 150-plus mph and 10-foot surges.
Puerto Rico is currently without running water, electricity or any services, by all accounts the situation is absolutely dire and this US territory needs as much help as possible. Currently almost all communication to the outside are down except for a handful of emergency lines and it is nearly impossible for most people to respond to their friends and loved ones outside of the disaster zone.
We have been doing research into how we as a community can help and there are a number of charities who are providing donations to Puerto Rico and to the Caribbean as a whole. PBS has a great list of charities here which is a start of who is offering their help, as always it is worth while to do your own part to make sure that your donation counts. Charity Navigator is an online resource for vetting charities prior to donating to them.
Unidos Por Puerto Rico
Unidos Por Puerto Rico is Beatriz Rosselló, the First Lady of Puerto Rico’s initiative in collaboration with some big names from the private sector including Walmart, Coca Cola and Burger King. The Hispanic Federation is also giving money to Unidos Por Puerto Rico on their site here.
These charities state that 100% of donations go to help victims directly
The Center for Popular Democracy has a donation page just for Puerto Rico where they state that the donations given will go only to the island. Their concentration is on immediate relief and recovery followed by equitable rebuilding for the communities hit hardest by the storm.
Direct Relief based out of Santa Barbara, California states in their FAQ section that 100% of donated funds will go to the specific initiative. Furthermore they are entirely privately funded without any government grants. Direct Relief also allows selection of the particular emergency you want to give to, be it Hurricane Irma, Maria, the Mexican earthquakes or specifically for the island of Puerto Rico.
The following charities give a percentage of all donations to the victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria
This is more than not giving but mind that a portion of this will go to administrative costs (payroll, etc.) and fundraising.
Americares states “For every $10 you donate today, we can provide $200 in aid” which sounds like a lot of impact for your dollar. They do note that less than 3% of donations go to administration fees, which is the highest on this portion of the list of charities.
Unicef will donate 90% of your donation to helping the children of Puerto Rico recover from the destruction of these disasters.
Save the Children, like Unicef, is concentrating on aiding the children of Puerto Rico but last year only 86.5% of the donations made it to program services.
In addition to giving money there are also other ways of helping
Unidos Por Puerto Rico has a guide for donating supplies in addition to anything else you can do to help. A link to their .pdf guide can be found here.
At the very least simply spreading awareness on social media and encouraging any donations with the official hashtags #UnidosPorPR, #UnitedForPR, #MariaPR, and #PrayForPuertoRico will keep the aid coming until the population completely recovered.
Facebook has a safety check page here where you can try to connect with any friends or family you have in the affected area.
JNCers are a strong community and we always are there to help our fellow JNCers when they need it. Now is the time to step up to help our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, lets make sure that everyone affected from these disasters feels our assistance.