Bluestem Prairie heartily concurs with this statement from Minnesota's executive branch:
Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith are encouraging concerned Minnesotans to donate and volunteer with qualified relief efforts, to assist those impacted by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. There are approximately 13,000 Puerto Rican people living in Minnesota, meaning many Minnesotans have family, friends, or other loved ones impacted by Hurricane Maria.
“Many Minnesotans have families and friends, who have been severely affected by the terrible devastation in Puerto Rico,” said Governor Dayton. “I thank everyone, who has already supported the Island's tragic victims, and encourage everyone else, who is able, to support the qualified relief and recovery efforts there. I thank the courageous Members of the Minnesota National Guard, who have already deployed to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”
Seven Minnesota National Guard soldiers have been federally deployed to Puerto Rico, to provide critical communications support for recovery and relief efforts. Additionally, the Minnesota National Guard medical supply warehouse at Camp Ripley has shipped more than $1 million in medical supplies since to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico since September 1.
“Hurricane Maria has devastated Puerto Rico, home to 3.4 million of our fellow American citizens. Today, most Puerto Ricans lack access to water, electricity, fuel, and medical care. Roads, cell towers, and other basic infrastructure are in disrepair across the island, creating a humanitarian crisis” said Lt. Governor Smith. “Our Administration is coordinating closely with the federal government and the Department of Homeland Security to deploy Minnesota National Guard and other resources. We encourage Minnesotans who are able to support recovery efforts, by directly donating to relief organizations.”
How Minnesota is Responding
Seven Minnesota National Guard soldiers have been federally deployed to Puerto Rico, to provide critical communications support for recovery and relief efforts. Additionally, The Minnesota National Guard medical supply warehouse at Camp Ripley has shipped more than $1 million in medical supplies since to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico since September 1.
The Minnesota National Guard, and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management division, continue to monitor nationwide requests for hurricane assistance, to determine how Minnesota can best assist.
How Minnesotans Can Help
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asks concerned individuals to support recovery and relief efforts in one or more of the following ways:
- MONETARY DONATIONS – Monetary donations allow organizations to purchase what is needed right now on the ground, putting money back into the local and regional economy.
- Minnesotans can make a donation directly to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico by visiting www.unitedforpuertorico.com.
- Minnesotans can also make financial donations to a qualified relief organization to help voluntary or charitable organizations continue to provide services to Hurricane Maria survivors.
- The St. Paul Foundation has also started a fund, “El Fundo Boricua,” to raise money for Puerto Rico, and is matching all donations up to $250 through Oct. 19.
- DONATING GOODS – For individuals considering donating goods, FEMA notes that it is important to remember that managing unsolicited goods can take up valuable time from relief and recovery efforts.
- Minnesotans can find qualified non-profit organizations accepting or registering individual and corporate in-kind donations here.
VOLUNTEERING – For those interested in volunteering, FEMA asks that people show patience, and not transport themselves to the island of their own accord.
Anyone seeking an opportunity to get involved in response and recovery operations underway is encouraged to volunteer with local and nationally known organizations.
Photo: Hurricane damage in Puerto Rico, via NBC News.
Note: ordinarily Bluestem posts close with a request for support, but readers should send money instead to Puerto Rican relief efforts.