FFP Remains Committed to Helping Puerto Rico Recover
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Jan. 11, 2018) Thousands of families in Puerto Rico continue to receive critical aid, thanks to Food For The Poor's generous donors and partners, nearly four months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island and left many people struggling without food, water and basic necessities.
The charity has shipped 54 tractor-trailer loads of supplies to Puerto Rico.
Items include commercial-grade and standby generators, tarps, flashlights, batteries, canned goods, water, diapers, medical supplies, hygiene kits, zinc sheets and nails, roof straps, ridge caps, lumber, plywood, folding beds and mattresses, student desks and chairs, desks for teachers, MannaPack rice meals, evaporated milk and rice.
"We are very happy to have received all the goods that Food For The Poor sent us," said Father Rafael Zorrilla of the Episcopal Church in Puerto Rico. "Due to all the help we have received, we have impacted so many families."
Food For The Poor is working with the Episcopal Church to assure the distribution of the relief items. The church has 52 parishes throughout the island, and warehouses and transportation, both critical in distributing aid in the rural areas.
Food For The Poor also is assisting the Catholic charity Caritas to distribute relief. Caritas Puerto Rico started in 1969 under the name Catholic Social Services of Puerto Rico. In 2009, it changed its name to Caritas Puerto Rico. There are 200 parishes in 60 municipalities on the island.
A team from Food For The Poor visited Puerto Rico in December and documented how aid is getting to people who need it most.
"It is heartbreaking to see the conditions in which people in Puerto Rico still are living months after Hurricane Maria," said Food For The Poor President/CEO Robin Mahfood. "We are grateful to all of our donors and partners for working with us to meet the people of Puerto Rico's most basic needs."
The supplies provided by Food For The Poor through the Episcopal Church are reaching 46,000 people, representing 15,000 families through 52 churches and 33 municipalities.
Caritas has distributed 2 million pounds of aid with six dioceses working together, reaching 500 parishes in all 78 counties of Puerto Rico and about 1 million people.
While Food For The Poor's mission primarily is to serve internationally, the charity has responded in the past to catastrophic disasters in the United States and now to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.
Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on Sept. 20, destroying an estimated 230,000 homes and damaging 400,000 others, and cutting power to 3.4 million people. The prolonged outages have left entire swaths of the island living without hot meals, cooling fans or lights at night.
The official death toll is 64, though the government has formed a task force to examine the number of deaths related to Hurricane Maria and is expected to report its findings in about 90 days.
About half the island's people are still in the dark. Experts say some parts of Puerto Rico will not get power back until next spring.
"Food For The Poor is committed to helping the people of Puerto Rico," Mahfood said. "We understand what it is like to be hit by a hurricane. The lives of tens of thousands of people have been turned upside down. While we are working hard to meet their needs, we have to do more and make it happen more quickly for them. We need everyone's help."
Here is a video of Father Rafael Zorrilla thanking Food For The Poor and its donors for aid sent to the island: www.foodforthepoor.org/fatherzorrilla
In addition to Puerto Rico, Food For The Poor continues to send lifesaving aid to Dominica, another Caribbean island that suffered a devastating blow from Hurricane Maria. The charity recently delivered a heavy duty forklift capable of lifting entire empty containers to help reduce congestion at the port and unload aid faster in Dominica's tiny port.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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