Puerto Rico has recently had a series of devastating earthquakes, what scientists have called a “earthquake swarm” within less than a month. Since December 28th, the southwestern region of Puerto Rico has experienced 500 earthquakes, many over 5 and even 6 strengths, with scientists predicting dozens of large aftershocks likely to come. With more than 250,000 people are without water and nearly half a million without power, Puerto Rico is in desperate need of help. With a large Puerto Rican population in Philadelphia, many residents and even businesses are coming together to raise money, donate goods, and provide services to the people affected on the island.
For Puerto Ricans, the series of earthquakes is particularly rough, since many on the island still haven’t recovered from the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Maria, which hit as a category 5 hurricane and is the worst natural disaster in recorded history to affect Puerto Rico, as well as the islands of Dominica and Saint Croix. Because of this, Puerto Ricans in the mainland US, and particularly in Philadelphia are jumping into action and even more eager to help.
Restaurant Cuba Libre in Old City is helping in a big way – any customer who dines there can help by rounding up their purchase to the nearest dollar when using a credit or debit card through February 1st. Additionally, there will be an extra line at the bottom of diners checks for brunch, lunch, and dinner for people to donate to the Hispanic Federation.
Another Philly restaurant, South Philly Barbacoa, recently held a five-day pop up fundraiser to support Puerto Rico. Chef Christina Martinez and visiting chef from Puerto Rico, Maria Mercedes Grubb both helped to organize the event, with all of the proceeds going directly to the victims. When asked about the event, Chef Grubb said, “You definitely feel that brotherly love, like everybody has responded very well — donations have been very generous. It’s just overwhelming.”
Other people are doing work on an individual level, like activist Nancy Santiago who has roots in Philadelphia. Santiago now lives in Puerto Rico, but spoke with 6ABC on ways that Philly residents can help, saying, “Hispanics in Philanthropy, which is the organization I represent, has a whole host of non-profit organizations that we vet and work with on a regular basis.” She also notes that Salvation Army Puerto Rico is a great organization to donate goods like food and water, as well as other miscellaneous items.
When people are in need, whether it be in our own city or stretched beyond the mainland onto the island of Puerto Rico, Philadelphians definitely pull through and exemplify why we are known as the City of Brotherly Love.
For more resources on how to help Puerto Rico, check out this article, which details different foundations and organizations to donate money/goods/services to!